Hollande to host Armenian, Azerbaijani presidents meeting on Karabak

Hollande to host Armenian, Azerbaijani presidents’ meeting on N Karabakh

“The presidents spoke, with satisfaction, about the Armenian-French
high-level political dialogue and close cooperation in various
mutually advantageous areas,” the Armenian delegation said.

* Friday, 05 September, 2014

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he would host a
trilateral meeting with his Armenian and Azerbaijani colleagues
shortly to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.

The announcement was made after Hollande’s meeting with Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan in Newport, Wales, where NATO leaders are
holding their regular summit.

Sargsyan attended a meeting of the NATO and ISAF (International
Security Assistance Force) heads of state on the summit’s sidelines.

“The presidents spoke, with satisfaction, about the Armenian-French
high-level political dialogue and close cooperation in various
mutually advantageous areas,” the Armenian delegation said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has already met with the
Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, said political will would be
crucial for ending the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

He called for continuing the talks within the framework of the Minsk
Group of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) and offered assistance in the search for solutions.

Kerry said there was no alternative to a peaceful settlement in the
region and stressed the need to exclude further escalation of

Nagorno-Karabakh has recently been in the focus of international
attention again following several skirmishes in the enclave.

Armenia and Azerbaijan regularly report frequent shootings and
attempted incursions along the ceasefire line, but the latest outbreak
of fighting has been the worst in many years. The fighting erupted in
early August and has already claimed dozens of lives on both sides.

Sargsyan said earlier that tensions on the border with Azerbaijan had
been escalated deliberately.

He reiterated Armenia’s commitment to a speedy resolution of the
conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a de facto independent but
unrecognised state in Azerbaijan populated mainly by Armenians, on the
basis of international law and join statements of the Minsk Group

“We firmly believe that a new war cannot resolve the conflict,” Sargsyan said.

In his opinion, “confrontation will only lead to destabilisation,
provoke tensions and arms race, and further aggravate interstate
contradictions, foment ethnic and religious strife, and threatens the
security of other countries”.

Sargsyan said that his country would do everything it can to resolve
the Nagorno-Karabakh issue peacefully.

“We will do everything we can to solve the Karabakh problem
peacefully,” the president said.

“The [settlement] process is underway, and we are acting
constructively in this process,” Sargsyan said.

“No separate agreement [on de-escalation in the region] has been
reached. It’s pointless to talk about new documents because
previously, in 1994 and 1995, the parties signed two agreements [on
ceasefire] and they must comply with them,” he said.

But if new circumstances develop, they may lead the way to an
agreement on the non-use of force which would have a much higher
status than ceasefire agreements, Sargsyan said.

“An international incident prevention and response mechanism will be a
more effective option. If we can create such a mechanism, this will
provide a very serious motive. It is necessary to work in this
direction,” he said.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict could be resolved only if the territorial integrity of his
country was ensured.

“The conflict can be resolved only within the framework of the
territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. There is no other solution, and I
have no doubts that Azerbaijan will restore its territorial
integrity,” the head of state said.

He stressed that Azerbaijan was seeking to solve the issue “peacefully”.

“We hope for a peaceful resolution yet. To this end, the Armenian side
should unconditionally comply with the resolutions of international
organisations, including the U.N. Security Council, free the occupied
territories, and Azerbaijani citizens should return to their homes.
After that peace and stability will come to the region,” Aliyev said.

He said the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the “biggest source of
threat” in the region.

Azerbaijan and its people “will never allow a second Armenian state to
be created on their historical land”, he said.

He made it clear that Azerbaijan would “never step aside from its
position of principle”.

The head of state called for the soonest and fair settlement in
Karabakh on the basis of international law.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began on February 22, 1988. On November
29, 1989 direct rule in Nagorno-Karabakh was ended and Azerbaijan
regained control of the region. However later a joint session of the
Armenian parliament and the top legislative body of Nagorno-Karabakh
proclaimed the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

On December 10, 1991, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh held a referendum,
boycotted by local Azeris, which approved the creation of an
independent state.

The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and
Azerbaijan obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By the
end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and
created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. An unofficial
ceasefire was reached on May 12, 1994.

As of August, 2008, the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group were
attempting to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict. On August
2, 2008, Aliyev and Sargsyan travelled to Moscow for talks with Dmitry
Medvedev, who was Russian president at the time. As a result, the
three presidents signed an agreement that calls for talks on a
political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.


From: Baghdasarian


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