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Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia agree to reduce tension over occupied Karabakh

[JURIST] At a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe [official website] (OSCE) Minsk Group, on Monday, Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed [AA report] to begin the process of reducing tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, which both nations lay claim to the territory.

The meeting ended with a joint statement [press release] from all parties, "The Presidents agreed to take measures to intensify the negotiation process and to take additional steps to reduce tensions on the Line of Contact." These talks were the first meeting between the two Presidents since 2016, after violence led to the deaths of 270 military personnel.

The Speaker of Azerbaijan`s Parliament, Ogtay Asadov, also spoke on Monday saying that the Armenian occupation was illegal [AZERTEC report] and, "Turning a blind eye to the occupation of the lands of other states poses a threat to peace and security all over the world." This comes days after Armenia had acknowledged that it would be willing to concede some of the territory to Azerbaijan to help calm tensions.

Nagorno-Karabakh [BBC profile] has been under Armenian control since a ceasefire agreement [materials] was agreed by the two sides in 1994. The territory is recognized as Azerbaijani territory by the international community, though the region broke away from Azerbaijan, though it has not been formally recognized by a majority of Nations.

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