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Hollande holds Nagorny Karabakh talks with Armenian, Azerbaijan leaders

media French President François Hollande (L) greets Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in Paris on Monday Reuters

French President François Hollande held talks with leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan Monday over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh. The two visitnig presidents agreed to exchange information on people missing due to the long-running conflict.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian have agreed to “exchange data about the missing from the conflict under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” according to the French presidency.

In a private discussion with Aliyev, Hollande broached the case of human rights activist Leyla Yunus, who was arrested and detained at the end of July on suspicion that she was spying for Armenia.

Armenian separatists took over Nagorny Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a war in the 1990s.

A ceasefire was negotiated in 1994 but the two sides never signed a final agreement.

This is the third round of talks since an upsurge in violence in August.

Azerbaijan has threatened to take Nagorny Karabakh back by force.

Armenia, which is armed by Russia, says it could defend itself against any offensive.

France and other mediators are pushing the two sides to compromise, Gaïdz Minassian of the French Foundation for Strategic Research told RFI.

Hollande insisted on the “need for an effective drop of tension between both parties in the conflict” and proposed that the parties could meet again during the September 2015 UN General Assembly in New York.

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