Latin American Herald Tribune
Aug 3 2014

Leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan to Meet to Ease Tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh


TBILISI - The presidents of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, and Azerbaijan,
Ilham Aliyev, will meet this week in Russia to reduce tensions sparked
by fighting that broke out on the border between the two countries in
recent days.

"The safest thing to say is that the meeting will take place on Aug. 8
or 9. I hope that an agreement is achieved that is very significant
for us," Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan told reporters.

The leaders will meet in the Russian resort town of Sochi, predictably
with Russian mediation.

The proposal for Sargsyan and Aliyev to hold an urgent meeting comes
from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE,
which is charged with supervising the cease-fire between the two
countries established in 1994.

The conflict the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh goes back to
the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region's Armenian
population sought unification with Armenia, leading to a 1991-1994 war
that left more than 25,000 people dead.

Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenian troops occupy the entire enclave and
seven adjacent districts and have created a "security buffer" that
represents a third of Azerbaijani territory.

The top diplomat for the European Union, Catherine Ashton, on Sunday
called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from using violence in the
ongoing dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, where 13 have been killed on
the Azerbaijani side in recent days.

"We call on both sides to immediately respect the cease-fire, refrain
from the use of force or any threat thereof and continue efforts
towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,"
Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann, said in a statement.

"We are very concerned by the latest armed incidents which caused a
number of casualties along the ... Armenian-Azerbaijani ... border in
recent days," Mann said.

In 2010, Russia signed an agreement with Armenia that extends its
lease on a military base in that country until 2044, while also
pledging to safeguard Armenia - which is located between Turkey and
Iran - from external threats.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have accused one another in recent days of
carrying out attacks and making incursions into Nagorno-Karabakh,
which lies within Azerbaijan but is populated mainly by ethnic
Armenians.

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