YEREVAN, June 30. /ARKA/. On June 29, Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan held a video conference with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Stéphane Visconti (France), Andrew Schofer (USA), as well as with Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
It said the Foreign Minister of Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs discussed issues related to the environment of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
During the conversation an agreement was reached to hold a video-conference of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan on June 30, with participation and mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.
In the early hours of April 2, 2016 Azerbaijan, in gross violation of the agreements launched a large-scale offensive along the entire Line of Contact between the armed forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, using heavy weaponry, artillery and combat aircraft. Only thanks to the decisive actions of the Defense Army, which gave a fitting rebuff, on April 5, Azerbaijan was forced to ask, as in 1994, through the mediation of the Russian Federation for the cessation of the hostilities. It has been generally maintained, despite the recurrent violations by the Azerbaijani side.