Russian President Vladimir Putin invited the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan to come to Moscow for peace talks Friday and said fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region should be halted for humanitarian reasons, the Kremlin said.
"The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are being invited to Moscow on October 9," Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin. The Kremlin said late Thursday Putin had held a series of phone calls with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"The President of Russia is issuing a call to halt the fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh on humanitarian grounds in order to exchange dead bodies and prisoners," the Kremlin added.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 but international calls for a halt to fighting have gone unanswered. Armenia has continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.
The Minsk Group was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.
Many world powers have urged for a cease-fire and initiating dialogue. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has said Turkey must be involved in the process to resolve the decades-long conflict.