New Talks Begin Over Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Foreign ministers from Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Geneva Friday with representatives from France, Russia and the U.S. in an attempt to resolve the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region that has left hundreds dead.The three powers co-chair the Minsk Group, set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1992 to mediate the conflict.A third cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh collapsed Monday.The ongoing fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted Sept. 27 and has killed hundreds of people, marking the biggest escalation since a 1994 cease-fire over the breakaway region.The predominantly ethnic Armenian territory declared its independence from Azerbaijan in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union, sparking a war that claimed the lives of as many as 30,000 people before a 1994 cease-fire.Many observers are concerned fighting could expand into a wider conflict involving Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, and Russia, which considers the region to be in its sphere of influence.On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for Turkey to be invited to the talks.According to Reuters, the U.S. mission in Geneva confirmed U.S. participation in the talks and called for “Armenia and Azerbaijan to stop targeting civilian areas and to implement their agreed-upon commitments to a ceasefire.”According to AP, Azerbaijani forces pushed further into Nagorno-Karabakh Friday.

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