The presidents of arch-foes Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed Nov. 19 to discuss a peace settlement over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh, the European security body OSCE said.
“The presidents agreed to advance negotiations toward a peaceful settlement… They agreed to meet again in the months ahead,” the OSCE said in a statement after the two leaders met in Vienna.
Armenia’s Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev met in the Austrian capital Tuesday for the first time in two years, hosted by the OSCE’s so-called Minsk Group, which has been spearheading attempts to negotiate a solution to the conflict.
The foreign ministers of the two countries will now work with the heads of the Group — the ambassadors of Russia, France and the United States — “to build on the work to date with the aim of intensifying the peace process,” the OSCE said.
Working sessions will be held on the sidelines of an OSCE conference in Kiev on December 5-6. The Minsk co-chairs were also to visit the region this year.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a festering decades-long feud over the breakaway region of Nagorny Karabakh and frequently exchange sniper fire across the volatile frontline.
Armenia-backed separatists seized Nagorny Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a war that killed 30,000 people in the 1990s.
Despite years of negotiations since a 1994 ceasefire, the two sides have still not signed a peace deal.
The last meeting between the two leaders took place in January 2012 in the Russian resort of Sochi.
Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the disputed region by force if negotiations do not yield results, while Armenia has vowed to retaliate against any military action.