YEREVAN, May 23 (RIA Novosti) - A group of officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will monitor on Thursday the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops on the border with the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, the unrecognized republic’s Foreign Ministry said.
“The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have agreed to cooperate with observers and provide security for OSCE officials during the inspection,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The OSCE routinely monitors the contact line between the troops in the disputed area as Armenia and Azerbaijan frequently accuse each other of violating the 1994 ceasefire agreement.
Skirmishes between the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops occasionally result in soldiers' deaths.
Relations between the two countries have been strained for more than two decades, since the conflict over Nagorno-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. Nagorno-Karabakh has remained in Armenian control and tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have persisted.
The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group that comprises the United States, Russia and France.
The Minsk Group co-chairs - Igor Popov of Russia, Jacques Faure of France and Ian Kelly of the United States – are expected to visit Yerevan on May 24 to hold talks with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.