Azerbaijan, France discuss regional issues

Azerbaijan, France discuss regional issues

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 8 / Trend /

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on Saturday received a delegation led by the Director of the French Foreign Ministry's Continental Europe Department, Eric Fournier.

During the meeting, Mammadyarov shared his impressions of the OSCE Ministerial Council held on December 5-7 in Dublin. According to the minister, the further development of cooperation with the European Union is particularly important to Azerbaijan. The meeting also discussed relations and prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO.

Mammadyarov informed the guest about the regional projects and noted their importance for the region and Europe.

Concerning security issues, Mammadyarov said that in its foreign policy Azerbaijan gives preference to national interests, and has mobilized all its power to strengthen the independence. According to him, the main obstacle to the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is the presence of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The Foreign Minister said that starting the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan would open opportunities for the conflict settlement. He also noted that in the context of conflict resolution it is necessary to organize meetings between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The parties also discussed other regional issues.

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 four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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