May 16, 2016 / 9:52 PM / in 2 years

Russia: Armenia, Azerbaijan agreed on need for full Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire - RIA

VIENNA (Reuters) - The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed in a meeting in Vienna on Monday on the need for a full ceasefire to be observed in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, the RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

An Azeri serviceman aims his weapon at the frontline with the self-defense army of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Zulfiya Safkhanova

The two men also agreed they would fix the time and place of their next meeting in June and that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) would draw up a plan to investigate ceasefire violations in Nagorno-Karabakh, Lavrov said.

The Vienna meeting was the first between Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev since a dramatic flare-up in violence between Armenian-backed separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forces last month which killed dozens of people and pushed relations to a multi-year low.

The existing ceasefire may have stopped the short conflict becoming an all-out war a month ago, but gunfire and shelling still echo nightly, residents say, and people are still being killed.

Lavrov said he sensed there was now a desire on both sides for a compromise and that Russia was ready to do what it could to broker a more satisfactory deal. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was also involved in the talks.

Sargsyan’s office confirmed the details in a statement, saying a deal had been struck to step up monitoring of the existing ceasefire, to look at beefing up the OSCE team, and to take steps toward resuming talks on finding a more permanent solution.

Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow and Hasmik Mkrtchyan in Yerevan; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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