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OSCE to monitor contact line between Armenian, Azerbaijani troops at Karabakh border

RIA Novosti

03:41 16/06/2010

YEREVAN, June 16 (RIA Novosti) - A group of OSCE representatives will monitor on Wednesday the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops at the border between the two countries, the Armenian Defense Ministry's press service has said.

The monitoring will reportedly be held in line with the mandate granted to Kazakh Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev's envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Kazakhstan currently holds the rotating chair of the OSCE.

The monitoring will take place near the village of Bardzruni in Armenia's Vayots Dzor province, at the border with the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region.

Armenia and Azerbaijan frequently accuse each other of violating the ceasefire agreement in the disputed area. Shooting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops sometimes result in soldiers' deaths.

The OSCE regularly monitor the contact line between the troops to secure ceasefire.

Relations between the two countries have been strained for more than two decades, since the conflict over Nagorny Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian region, first erupted in 1988. The region then claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia.

Over 30,000 people are estimated to have died on both sides between 1988 and 1994, when a ceasefire was agreed. Nagorny Karabakh has remained in Armenian control and tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have persisted.

The conflict over Nagorny Karabakh is mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group that comprises the United States, Russia and France.

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