US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Washington on Friday to discuss ways to stop the hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, although it is still uncertain if the talks will be separate or trilateral.

While Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanyan confirmed that they will be visiting the United States on Friday, there has not been confirmation yet on the possibility of their face-to-face meeting.

Armenia ministry’s spokeswoman, Anna Naghdalyan, told Sputnik on Tuesday that a sustainable and verifiable ceasefire is an absolute priority in the current context of the conflict.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry confirmed to Sputnik that Bayramov will hold a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.

Pompeo earlier this week said he is anxious to hear what the two diplomats are seeing on the ground and how they might get closer to resolving the conflict.

Armed hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh have been ongoing since 27 September. The parties have since agreed to two humanitarian ceasefires, however, both were broken mere hours after entering into force.

The warring sides have continued to accuse each other of provocations and attacks on civilian settlements. The tensions originally began when the region broke off from the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic in 1988.

Moscow seeks to move Karabakh Conflict onto Diplomatic Track - Kremlin

Moscow is trying to put the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh onto a diplomatic track and does not see any alternative to a peaceful solution, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

"Russia has been doing everything in its power to steer the current situation onto the political and diplomatic track. We are still convinced that this problem can only have a peaceful solution", Peskov told reporters.

He also noted with regret that Armenia and Azerbaijan were not compliant with the agreements on a Karabakh ceasefire, reached in Moscow earlier this month.

"Unfortunately, it cannot be said yet that they’re fulfiling the previously reached agreements about the ceasefire and a humanitarian pause. Unfortunately, the sides are not compliant”, Peskov told reporters, commenting on Oktay's statement.

   

"As for third nations' engagement in the existing formats of crisis settlement, this depends fully on the political will of the sides to the conflict. There are two sides to the conflict, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Engagement in conflict resolution, mediation, and participation in the formats is only possible with the consent of the two sides”, the Kremlin spokesman went on to say.

The statement comes as a response after Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay claimed earlier this week that Russia could not resolve the hostilities in Karabakh and engagement from Ankara was therefore needed. At the same time, the Turkish official stated that his country is ready to deploy military if Baku asks for assistance.

The fighting on the contact line in Karabakh began on 27 September, as both Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other of aggression.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh flared up in the 1980s and resulted in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announcing its secession from Azerbaijan in 1991. During the subsequent war between Baku and Yerevan (1992-1994), Azerbaijan lost control of the self-proclaimed republic and areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, talks have been ongoing for a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group, led by Russia, the US, and France.

Russian Deputy FM Says Karabakh Crisis Does Not Affect Cooperation With Turkey on Syria

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh does not affect the Russian-Turkish cooperation on Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said on Thursday.

"I do not see any link here. I can only say that the situation was discussed at the Security Council, and the common opinion is that the ceasefire is the key task today, this is exactly what we said when [Armenian and Azerbaijani] foreign ministers met with our foreign minister", Vershinin told reporters.

Russia and Turkey maintain dialogue on a whole range of international and regional issues, Vershinin went on to say, at the same time noting he would not discuss the Karabakh escalation with Turkey's deputy foreign minister at their upcoming talks in Moscow.

"We maintain good [opinion] exchange on Syria and Libya, and we will continue this exchange", Vershinin concluded.

While Russia is mediating talks between Baku and Yerevan, the Turkish government has decisively backed Azerbaijan, promising its support "both on the battlefield and in negotiations". Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay recently stressed that Ankara is ready to deploy its military if Baku makes such a request.