YEREVAN, January 10. /ARKA/. President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz urged today Armenia and Azerbaijan leaders to speed up Karabakh conflict settlement.
Schulz was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying at his meeting with Armenian National Assembly Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan in Brussels that the conflicting sides should refrain from statements which can escalate tension, RIA Novosti reports.
Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.
On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.
Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it.
Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million people fled their homes.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations.
Since 1992, talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia and France. -0-