France counts on consolidating relations with Azerbaijan, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in Elysee Palace before meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, the French President's Office said.
"The growth rate of the Azerbaijani economy is one of the highest worldwide, comprising over 35% in 2006 thanks to energy the sector. France is interested in expanding its presence in Azerbaijan, in particular in its economy, he said.
The relations between Baku and the European Union (EU), the situation in the South Caucasus, particularly, prospects of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be in focus. Moreover, together with Russia and the United States, France is implementing duties of the OSCE Minsk Group, which is in charge of searching for a durable solution to the problem.
France states that regular meetings of the Minsk 'trio' with the Foreign Ministers and Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia make it possible to outline contours of future political solutions to the conflict. This work also makes it possible to consider different aspects, including the Nagorno-Karabakh status, conditions for repatriation of internally displaced persons, security guarantees, rehabilitation of territories and normalization of bilateral relations, ITAR-TASS reported.