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OSCE's Minsk Mediators Meet In Armenia On Karabakh

YEREVAN -- International mediators have met in Yerevan to start a fresh round of talks on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported.

The October 1 meeting came ahead of a potentially groundbreaking meeting next week between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents.

In a statement issued on their arrival in the Armenian capital, the U.S., Russian, and French cochairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group said they would also visit Stepanakert -- the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh -- and Baku to discuss "the key remaining unresolved issues" in their basic principles of a Karabakh settlement.

The diplomats began their latest round of shuttle diplomacy with separate meetings with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.

Official Armenian sources reported no details of the talks.

The presidential press service said only that they discussed preparations for Sarkisian's "possible meeting" with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the October 8 Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Moldova.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters on September 30 that this is the closest Armenia and Azerbaijan have come to striking a peace deal over Karabakh.

Davutoglu said a team of OSCE experts is visiting the Armenian-controlled Lachin district in Azerbaijan to draw up plans for an internationally recognized land corridor that would link Karabakh to Armenia proper.

The information was confirmed by an Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry official but flatly denied by a senior aide to the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic, Bako Sahakian, who told RFE/RL on October 1 that his government continues to consider the entire Lachin district an integral part of his entity.