PARIS (Combined Sources)—Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met on Monday at the French Presidential Elysee Palace to discuss next steps in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, reported both presidential offices.
The one-on-one meeting between presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev was preceded by a meeting mediated by their French counterpart Francois Hollande, who initiated the talks during a visit last spring to the Caucasus.
The co-chairmen of the Minsk Group of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, ambassadors James Warlick (US), Igor Popov (Russia) and Pierre Andrieu (France), attended the meeting mediate by Hollande and met with the two leaders following their private meeting.
At the conclusion of the meetings the sides decided to continue the negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minks Group and to build better mechanisms of trust. At the same time, the sides have pledge to resolve the conflict peacefully and to continue high-level negotiations for an eventual peace deal.
Upon arriving in Paris, Sarkisian met with Hollande to discuss a wide range of issues regarding cooperation between France and Armenia, as well as other regional and international issues.
After thanking Hollande for hosting the talks in Paris, Sarkisian stressed that Armenia has always supported the resolution of the conflict exclusively through peace talks, and expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group and the leaders of the co-chairing countries aimed at furthering the negotiation process and establishing peace and stability in the region.
The two leaders reiterated the special relationship France and Armenia enjoyed and hailed the growing economic relations between the two countries. French investment in Armenia has reached $1 billion.
Hollande also praised Armenia for its participation in various international peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Lebanon and for its active role in efforts undertaken by the United Nations worldwide.