Fassier (left) with Merzlyakov (right) and U.S. coChairman Matthew Bryza in Baku last year (RFE/RL)
May 25, 2007 -- The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to hold talks in Russia on June 9 on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will meet on the sidelines of an informal summit of leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in St. Petersburg.
Bernard Fassier and Yury Merzlyakov, the French and Russian co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group, made the announcement today.
The Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the OSCE to bring about a peaceful resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States.
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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 launched an offensive against separatist forces in 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.
CHRONOLOGY: For an annotated timeline of the fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-94 and the long search for a permanent settlement to the conflict, click here.
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