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Armenia and Azerbaijan attend Moscow negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh violence

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A house is destroyed by shelling during a flare-up of violence in the city known as Stepanakert for the Armenians and Khankendi to Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh, Oct. 8, 2020.
A house is destroyed by shelling during a flare-up of violence in the city known as Stepanakert for the Armenians and Khankendi to Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh, Oct. 8, 2020.   -   Copyright  AP/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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Foreign ministers from Armenia and Azerbaijan have attended talks on Friday over the flare-up of violence in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Moscow, at the initiative of the Kremlin.

The Russian Foreign Ministry released images on Friday of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenia's Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin invited foreign ministers from the two countries to visit Moscow for peace talks in an announcement late on Thursday, saying fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh should be halted for humanitarian reasons.

“The President of Russia is issuing a call to halt the fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh on humanitarian grounds in order to exchange dead bodies and prisoners,” Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.

The move came as fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh continued for an eleventh consecutive day on Thursday.

The two countries blame each other for the latest flare-up in deadly violence, which has killed at least 400 people since it broke out on September 27.

The meeting marks the first breakthrough in international efforts to try and broker a ceasefire between the two sides.

"Baku and Yerevan have confirmed their participation in the negotiations in Moscow. Preparations are in full swing," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told AFP.

The international community has repeatedly called for an immediate halt to the fighting but there are no signs yet of the conflict abating.

The leaders of France, Russia and the United States jointly called for an immediate ceasefire in the Caucasus in a statement.

Emmanuel Macron, Putin and Donald Trump last week condemned the escalation of violence and said both sides should resume negotiations for a peace settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh.

They said they were representing the OSCE Minsk Group, a collection of countries that came together in 1992 to find a solution to the conflict.

The former Soviet states of Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a bloody war over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s.

Thousands were killed on both sides. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.

The war ended with a truce in 1994, although there has been sporadic violence since.