Azerbaijan, Baku, July 9 / Trend S. Agayeva /
French position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unambiguous. Official Paris recognizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders. It does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as all other countries, including Armenia. This position has been repeatedly stated by the government, French Secretary of State Hervé Novelli said, the Azerbaijani Embassy in France told Trend.
France, committed to this principled position, does not communicate with the de facto power structures of Nagorno-Karabakh. This self-proclaimed territorial unit has no representation accredited to the French government, Novelli said in response to a request from a member of the committee on foreign policy and defense of the French Senate Nathalie Goulet on the government's position on representation of the self-proclaimed "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" in France, addressed to Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner as a part of the legislative body "Questions to the government."
Secretary of State Novelli spoke at the plenary session of the Senate on behalf of Kouchner.
The secretary said that OSCE Minsk Group French co-chairman Bernard Fassier recognized by Azerbaijani authority has permission to visit Nagorno Karabakh and meet with de facto power structures.
Novelli also noted that the recent visit by several members of the French National Assembly to the Nagorno-Karabakh is a matter of their responsibility. It does not reflect the position of France.
Nathalie Goulet is a member of the Friendship Group in the French Senate.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.