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Armenia, Azerbaijan Foreign Ministers To Meet In London

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (left) and Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian (RFE/RL) 17 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are scheduled to meet in London today to prepare for upcoming talks on settling the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between the presidents of the two countries.

Foreign ministers Vartan Oskanian of Armenia and Elmar Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan are expected to be joined in their meeting by the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group -- France, Russia, and the United States -- which has been mediating efforts to settle the Karabakh issue.

The OSCE mediators have said they are hopeful that significant progress can be made this year to settle the conflict.

Presidents Robert Kocharian of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan are expected to meet in early February.

Predominantly ethnic Armenian Karabakh forcibly seceded from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1988, triggering a war that claimed some 30,000 lives and drove more than 800,000 people from their homes. Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a truce in 1994, but remain formally at war.


Click on the map to see an enlarged map of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area.

In February 1988, the local assembly in Stepanakert, the local capital of the Azerbaijani region of NAGORNO-KARABAKH, passed a resolution calling for unification of the predominantly ethnic-Armenian region with Armenia. There were reports of violence against local Azeris, followed by attacks against Armenians in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. In 1991-92, Azerbaijani forces occupied most of Nagorno-Karabakh, but the Armenians counterattacked and by 1993-94 had seized almost all of the region, as well as vast areas around it. About 600,000 Azeris were displaced and as many as 25,000 people were killed before a Russian-brokered cease-fire was imposed in May 1994.

For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,click here.

Of particular interest:

2005 In Review: Conflicts In Caucasus Still Characterized By Gridlock

Nagorno-Karabakh President Expresses Optimism

Nagorno-Karabakh: OSCE To Unveil New Peace Plan