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Russia to Host Armenia and Azerbaijan Leaders for Karabakh Talks

Russian officials say the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Moscow Sunday for talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Officials said Wednesday that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will mediate the talks on the largely Armenian populated enclave of Azerbaijan.

Mr. Medvedev announced plans to invite the two leaders to negotiate a peace deal during a visit to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, last week.

He said the recent Russian military conflict with Georgia has shown the need to settle territorial disputes through negotiation.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the United States is pleased by Russia's initiative and hopes it succeeds.

The United States has urged both Azerbaijan and Armenia to step up efforts to end the conflict.

Ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1988, sparking a six-year war that killed 35,000 people. A 1994 cease-fire has been periodically interrupted by firefights.