YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—A recent statement by the Presidents of France, Russia and the United States urging a quick resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict demonstrates “political will” at the “highest level” to “reinforce results reached thus far in the negotiation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to French Ambassador to Armenia Serge Smessow.
Smessow’s remarks came during a press conference in Yerevan Monday where he also described Armenian-French relations as “brilliant” and developing and emphasized that France’s role in the region as one seeking stability.
Earlier last week at the tail-end of the G8 summit, the three president’s chairing the OSCE Minsk Group released a joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in which they instructed the mediators to present the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan with an updated version of the Madrid Document. The statement concluded with an urge towards the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan “to resolve the few differences remaining between them and finalize their agreement on these Basic Principles, which will outline a comprehensive settlement.”
“It’s quite clear to me that this is simply a demonstration of political will on the highest level, a desire to reinforce the results achieved in the negotiation process,” Semessow said.
Among the principles called for in the Madrid Document, and which the United States, Russia and France reaffirmed Friday, were, “the return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control and an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-government.”
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev stressed those points in an interview with Russian State Television last weekend where he alleged that the negotiating parties had agreed on the said points. His statement was praised by the Minsk Group co-chairs during their visit to the region late last week.
Smessow, however, refrained from commenting on those remarks or on the statements made by the Co-chair’s as they visited Armenia and Azerbaijan last week.
In a related development, officials in Ankara have welcomed the Minsk Group’s statement which included that Co-Chairs “affirm our commitment” to efforts by Armenia and Azerbaijan to finalize “the basic principles for settlement” of the conflict.
“The impression we got up to today is that the principles mentioned constitute a general framework. The presence of some nuances in the approaches of the two sides concerning these basic principles should be considered natural,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that what matters is the quick completion of negotiations on these basic principles in order to reach a peaceful resolution of the dispute which has continued to be a “bleeding wound for both Azerbaijan and Armenia and for the South Caucasus region for years.”