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Russia To Host Fresh Armenian-Azeri Peace Talks


Russia -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts, Elmar Mammadyarov (R) and Edward Nalbandian attend a session top diplomats from CIS countries in Moscow, 8Apr2016.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold a trilateral meeting with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Moscow on Friday in a fresh attempt to kick-start the Nagorno-Karabakh process.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Lavrov, Armenia’s Edward Nalbandian and Azerbaijan’s Elmar Mammadyarov will discuss ways of resolving the Karabakh conflict at their meeting. It gave no further details.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry confirmed the announcement but also did not elaborate.

Visiting Yerevan late last month, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Richard Hoagland, said that Nalbandian and Mammadyarov will likely meet in Moscow soon to try to “prepare the ground” for a fresh Armenian-Azerbaijani summit.

Lavrov most recently held separate talks with Nalbandian and Mammadyarov in the Russian capital in late February and early March. He said after the meeting with the Azerbaijan minister that that the conflicting parties broadly agree on a framework peace accord put forward by Russia, the U.S., and France. But he said they are still far apart on “two or three” unspecified elements of the proposed settlement.

The so-called Basic Principles of a Karabakh peace were first drafted by the three co-chairs of the Minsk Group in 2007.They call for gradual Armenian withdrawal from virtually districts around Karabakh. In return, Karabakh’s predominantly Armenian population would determine the disputed territory’s internationally recognized status in a future referendum.

The still unpublicized draft accord has been repeatedly modified in the past decade. Hoagland did not deny media reports that its most recent version was drawn up by Russia following the April 2016 hostilities in Karabakh.

“I’m not going to comment on that,” the U.S. envoy told reporters in Yerevan on March 27. “But I will say that this is a very good, internationally approved plan. The OSCE supports it and the co-chairs and their governments support it.”

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