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Armenia, Azerbaijan to Meet on Nagorno-Karabakh

Russia then-President Dmitry Medvedev, center, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, second right, and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, second left, meet in the presidential palace of the Kremlin in Kazan, Russia, Friday, June 24, 2011.

The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan are scheduled to meet this month, possibly on August 8 or 9, on the long-simmering conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, where a surge in fighting has left a number of soldiers dead.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev plan to hold talks in the Russian city of Sochi.

Fighting Saturday killed four Azeri troops and an Armenian soldier, days after at least eight Azeri soldiers were killed.

The United States has encouraged the presidents from both countries to talk and take immediate action to reduce tensions and return to a cease-fire.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says retaliation and further violence will only make it more difficult to bring about a peaceful settlement.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan. The landlocked region declared independence in 1992.

Fighting over the region killed about 30,000 people before a 1994 cease-fire.

A peace treaty has never been signed and tensions between both sides occasionally boil over into violence.

Some information for this report comes from AFP.