Minister urges peace compromise on Nagorno-Karabakh

Situation in Nagorno-Karabakh – Reply by M. Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to a question in the Senate

Paris, 3 May 2016

You’re right to emphasize the urgency and seriousness of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, following the events at the beginning of April.

As the renewal of military clashes shows, it would be a serious mistake to think that simply maintaining the status quo can bring a solution. As you’ve emphasized, this conflict continues to kill dozens of civilians and military personnel every year.

As we know, nothing is more urgent today than getting a ceasefire, an end to all military confrontation and the parties’ return to the negotiating table, in order to find a negotiated, political solution to the conflict.

It won’t be easy. Trust between the two parties is broken. They have a very low propensity today to get back to the negotiating table. However, France – which, as you pointed out, co-chairs the Minsk Group alongside Russia and the United States, its partners in the OSCE – is utterly determined. This is the thrust of the message I conveyed last week during my visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Meeting the presidents of those two countries, Messrs Sarkisian and Aliyev, I told them what France’s message has always been. I urged them to reach a peace compromise between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. I upheld the same message in Yerevan and Baku.

The parameters of this compromise are known. It’s about the so-called Madrid Principles: non-use of violence, respect for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination. Those are the lines along which the negotiation must resume.

Of course, we must also provide Armenia with security guarantees and respond to Azerbaijan’s concerns. France is totally mobilized at every level of the state. The French President hosted the two presidents concerned back in October 2014. So we’re ready to take every initiative which will allow us to get back to a solution of peace negotiations./.

Published on 11/05/2016

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