French President Francois Hollande is meeting in Paris with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in an attempt to ease tensions, following the escalation of violence in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region of the southern Caucasus.

Monday's three-way meeting aims to restart dialogue between Armenian President Serge Sarkisian and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.

Hollande met separately with each leader earlier in the day.

Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan but it and some surrounding territory have been under the control of Armenian soldiers and local Armenian forces since a 1994 cease-fire ended a separatist war. Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, but last summer tensions rose sharply as 19 soldiers were killed in multiple confrontations.