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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nagorno-Karabakh Talks Set

TBILISI, Georgia — The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will hold talks Sunday on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, France said Thursday, with Turkey pressing for progress before it seals a rapprochement with Armenia.

Fifteen years of mediation have failed to produce a peace deal on the Armenian-populated mountain territory, at the heart of a key transit region for oil and gas to the West.

But a historic thaw between Armenia and close Azeri ally Turkey — which has significance for Turkey’s EU membership bid and landlocked Armenia’s crisis-hit economy — has thrust the conflict back into the diplomatic spotlight.

Turkey says it wants to see progress on Nagorno-Karabakh before it ratifies a deal to open its border with Armenia and establish diplomatic ties, overcoming a century of hostility stemming from the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

The French Foreign Ministry, in a statement posted on its web site, said Armenia’s Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev would meet Sunday at the French consulate in Munich. The talks are led by a trio of mediators from the United States, Russia and France working under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The Munich meeting will be the sixth this year, an intensity fueling speculation about a possible breakthrough. Mediators say they are making progress, but diplomats caution that neither side appears ready to commit to difficult concessions and sell them to their people.