Armenia's government has given the go-ahead for the country's parliament to vote on recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist enclave that is officially part of neighboring Azerbaijan.

The government on Thursday approved the opposition initiative, opening the way for a parliamentary vote next week. There have been previous attempts to schedule such a vote, but this is the first one to gain the necessary government approval.

Azerbaijan condemned the initiative, which it said was aimed at scuttling international peace talks.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military since a 1994 cease-fire ended the separatist conflict, which killed about 30,000 people. But clashes have persisted and last month fighting broke out on a scale not seen in decades.