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German FM Warns About Karabakh, Calls For Armenia-Turkey Talks


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned that the conflict over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh could escalate and says Turkey and Armenia should hold talks to resolve their long-standing differences.

Steinmeier said in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on June 29 that the fragile cease-fire between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Karabakh must be strengthened to reduce the chances of fighting breaking out as it did last month when dozens were killed and injured.

He also said that Turkey and Armenia should hold talks to reconcile their differences over the Ottoman-era mass killings and expulsion of up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians that many countries and Yerevan describe as genocide.

The lower house of the German parliament passed a resolution earlier this month recognizing the killings as genocide in a move that was sharply criticized by the Turkish government.

Steinmeier, who the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's chairperson in office, will also visit Azerbaijan and Georgia during his trip to the Caucasus.

Baku and Yerevan have been locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh for years.

Armenian-backed separatists seized the region from Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

Diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict have brought little progress.

Based on reporting by dpa and Trend news agency
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