The FINANCIAL — BAKU. Co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will arrive in the capital of Azerbaijan on October 4, local news agency ARA reported citing the Russian co-chairman, according to RIA Novosti.
The Minsk Group mediates the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh. As a co-chair, Russia is at the center of international efforts to mediate a settlement.
Russia's Igor Popov, the United States' Robert Bradtke and France's Bernard Fassier will on October 4-5 meet with the Azerbaijani leadership to discuss the forthcoming visit by the OSCE Assessment Mission to Armenia-controlled territories around Nagorny Karabakh.
ARA also reported that during its October 4-14 visit, the mission will investigate cases of arranging settlements in seven Armenia-controlled areas around Karabakh.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian region, first erupted in 1988, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia.
Over 30,000 people are estimated to have died on both sides between 1988 and 1994, when a ceasefire was agreed. Nagorny Karabakh has remained in Armenian control and tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have persisted.
In May, the region elected a 33-seat parliament with a voter turnout of almost 68%. Azerbaijani officials called the elections "illegal," saying they could seriously harm peace efforts.
The OSCE Minsk Group was created in 1992 to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.