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2 Dead in Nagorno-Karabakh Despite Cease-fire

Armenian soldiers patrol on a tank near the village of Madaghis in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, April 6, 2016. Two Armenian soldiers were killed in fighting with Azerbaijani forces Friday even though a cease-fire appears to be largely holding.

Two Armenian soldiers were killed in fighting with Azerbaijani forces around Nagorno-Karabakh Friday, with each country blaming the other for violating the cease-fire.

Apart from the latest violence, the truce is generally holding. Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have reached a temporary deal to search for and evacuate their dead, with help from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The recent fighting has drawn condemnations as well as calls for resuming efforts toward an ultimate settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The United States, France and Russia, as part of the so-called OSCE Minsk Group, have tried to act as mediators for peace talks, but without visible results.

Russia has taken its own actions outside the Minsk Group, with senior envoys shuttling between Baku and Yerevan.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev traveled to Azerbaijan's capital Friday for talks with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. Medvedev met with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in Yerevan on Thursday.

Medvedev said in Baku that Russia’s relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan are equally important. He voiced hope they could resume negotiations under OSCE auspices.

Armenia has acknowledged the loss of 44 troops since fighting broke out a week ago. Azerbaijan has said that 31 of its soldiers died, and several civilians also have been killed.

The recent fighting has been the most intense in more than 20 years. An undeclared war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that began in the late 1980s was eventually brought to a halt by a Russian-brokered cease-fire in 1994, and the OSCE Minsk Group has been trying since then to resolve the underlying ethnic and territorial dispute between the two sides.

Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave entirely within Azerbaijan's borders, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military since the end of the war.