17 January 2006 (RFE/RL) — The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are scheduled to meet in London today to prepare for upcoming talks on settling the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between the presidents of the two countries.
Foreign ministers Vartan Oskanian of Armenia and Elmar Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan are expected to be joined in their meeting by the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group — France, Russia, and the United States — which has been mediating efforts to settle the Karabakh issue.
The OSCE mediators have said they are hopeful that significant progress can be made this year to settle the conflict.
Presidents Robert Kocharian of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan are expected to meet in early February.
Predominantly ethnic Armenian Karabakh forcibly seceded from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1988, triggering a war that claimed some 30,000 lives and drove more than 800,000 people from their homes. Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a truce in 1994, but remain formally at war.