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Lavrov: All parties make efforts to bring hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh to an end

All parties are making efforts to make sure that the hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh stop, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"All parties are making efforts to make sure that the hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh stop and do not resume," Lavrov said.

The Defense Ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan said earlier on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached to end the fighting as of 11.00 Moscow Time. The talks are currently underway on the details of the truce.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group from France, Russia and the United States intend to visit Baku and Yerevan and to travel to Nagorno-Karabakh, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday. He did not specify the date of the visit noting that it "will take place in the near future." At the same time, Ayrault called for a speedy de-escalation of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh. "The conflict cannot be resolved by force. To that end, we call for an immediate de-escalation and the resumption of the truce," he said.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted on Tuesday that Moscow had repeatedly expressed concern over the situation in the conflict zone. "This concern is shared by absolutely all countries in the region, all countries involved in the Minsk Quintet, that's why very energetic efforts are being made now," the Kremlin spokesman said, adding that contacts are maintained at the level of separate agencies and on the international arena.

The situation along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight on April 2, fierce armed clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce.

Neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan fell out with each other in the late 1980s because of Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up but was mainly populated by Armenians.

In 1991-1994, the confrontation spilled over into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and some adjacent territories. Thousands left their homes on both sides in a conflict that killed 30,000. A truce was called between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh republic on one side and Azerbaijan on the other in May 1994.

Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh have been held on the basis of the so-called Madrid Principles suggested by co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Russia, France and the United States in December 2007 in the Spanish capital. They include three key principles written in the Helsinki Final Act: refraining from the threat or use of force, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 05Apr16]

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