The White House says U.S. President Barack Obama has telephoned the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to urge progress in talks to end the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian-majority enclave located within Azerbaijani borders.
The phone calls came ahead of the June 24 summit between Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The summit is being held in Kazan, Russia, and hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The White House said Obama urged the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders to sign a "basic principles" agreement aimed at moving toward a resolution of the dispute. Last month, the U.S., Russian, and French presidents jointly called on the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides to take a decisive step toward a peaceful settlement without "further delay."
The "basic principles" set out guidelines for determining the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh. It envisages an Armenian withdrawal from territories in Azerbaijan that surround Karabakh, the return of refugees, and international security guarantees.
Ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia won control of Nagorno-Karabakh in a war that ended with a cease-fire in 1994.
compiled from agency reports