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OSCE Minsk Group prepares meeting of Azerbaijani, Armenian leaders - statement

VIENNA, April 05, /ITAR-TASS/. Co-chairmen of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are preparing a meeting to be held soon between Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan on the conflict settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian ethnic region in Azerbaijan, a joint statement says.

The statement by co-chairmen from Russia, France and the United States was issued after Friday’s meeting in Moscow with Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers Elmar Mamedyarov and Edward Nalbandian.

The ministers “discussed the possibility to hold the summit in the near future, and stressed the importance of achieving progress on specific issues”, the document says.

The statement authors also called on the top diplomats of Azerbaijan and Armenia to “make serious steps to reduce tensions in the region and continue the process of peace settlement”.

The previous meeting of Aliyev and Sargsyan took place in Vienna in November 2013.

Nagorno-Karabakh sought independence from Azerbaijan at the end of the 1980s, which resulted in a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that claimed the lives of 25,000-30,000 people between 1988 and 1994. Since then, the territory has been controlled by Armenia.

The OSCE Minsk Group, which comprises Russia, France and the United States, acts as a mediator in the conflict.