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Nagorno-Karabakh Talks Expected In London

(RFE/RL) PRAGUE, 18 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are expected to meet today in London for talks related to efforts to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between their countries, RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service reported.

Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that foreign ministers Elmar Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan and Vardan Oskanian of Armenia will discuss, among other issues, preparations for a possible February summit between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The London talks are also expected to be attended by representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group -- co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States -- which has been mediating efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

Predominantly ethnic Armenian Karabakh 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. A truce was signed in 1994, but Armenia and Azerbaijan remain formally at war.

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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

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