Russian president calls summit on Nagorny Karabakh conflict

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will hold a summit next week with his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan that will focus on the conflict over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region, the Kremlin announced Friday.

The meeting called by the Russian leader will take place Wednesday at Astrakhan, on the Caspian Sea, the Kremlin statement said.

"Questions related to dealing with the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh will be discussed during the three-party meeting," the Russian presidency said.

Tensions over the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan have been increasing amid stalled peace talks, with the number of deadly skirmishes along the ceasefire line on the rise for months.

At least 19 soldiers on both sides have been reported killed in clashes this year, including eight soldiers killed last month alone.

The conflict goes back to the early 1990s when ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia seized control from Baku in a war that left an estimated 30,000 dead.

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are spread along a ceasefire line in and around Nagorny Karabakh, often facing each other at close range, and shootings are common.

© 2010 AFP

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