The dialogue between the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not yet produced serious progress. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference, following the third plenary meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council on December 8. “But the fact that this year’s dialogue was held at the level of the presidents and more than once at the level of the foreign ministers seems to be positive to us. We will continue to work in the direction which the collective approach of the OSCE Minks Group co-chairs follows. It contains the principles of settlement that the parties have adopted, but have not yet translated them to the language of practical steps,” Lavrov said. According to him, this is not simple, but they will continue to deal with it.
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 and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum. On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement out an end to 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 control of Armenian forces in 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. On April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan launched military assaults along the entire perimeter of its contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh. Four days later a cease-fire was reached.