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Russian Foreign Minister, Azerbaijani President Discuss Karabakh Settlement

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the frozen conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with President Ilham Aliyev on December 2. (file photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the frozen conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with President Ilham Aliyev on the first day of his visit to Azerbaijan on December 2.

Lavrov said at a meeting with Aliyev in Baku that Russia was interested in the fulfillment of confidence-building measures as part of the settlement of the situation in Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh, which is populated mostly by ethnic Armenians.

The region declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Russia brokered a fragile truce in 1994 and the region has been under the control of ethnic-Armenian forces that Azerbaijan says include troops supplied by Armenia. The region's claim to independence has not been recognized by any country.

On March 29 in Vienna, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Aliyev held their first meeting under the auspices of the so-called Minsk Group, which leads diplomatic efforts to resolve the protracted dispute.

Russia, the United States, and France are the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that acts as a mediator in resolving the crisis.

Yerevan and Baku described the talks as "positive" and "constructive," saying the sides had agreed to strengthen the cease-fire regime in the conflict zone and continue their dialogue.

"We want those agreements on confidence-building measures and on establishing humanitarian contacts, specifically those between media outlets, which were reached at the Vienna summit and reconfirmed at the ministerial meeting in Moscow, to be implemented," Lavrov said in his opening remarks at a meeting with Aliyev.

These agreements "are being gradually fulfilled," Lavrov said.

Lavrov was also scheduled to hold talks with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

With reporting by TASS
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