Baku, Azerbaijan, July 1
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
Ambassador of France to Azerbaijan Pascal Monnier believes that when the parties do not take steps, the process stops, the ambassador told Trend July 1.
He made the remarks commenting on the progress of negotiations to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"It is important that both parties take steps and set up claims," he said. "The Azerbaijani and Armenian sides should know that this point is very important and is in everyone's interests."
The ambassador said that France puts efforts for the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Having reminded about the visits of French President Francois Hollande in September 2014 and April 2015 to Azerbaijan, Monnier said that talks were held during the visits.
He said that this issue was discussed more than once with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Baku on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the first European Games.
"Also, the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group traveled to France, where the discussions continued," said the ambassador. "The OSCE Minsk Group is trying to organize a meeting of presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in order to find a peaceful solution to the conflict."
The ambassador went on to add that France has good relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan and intends to expand cooperation with these countries.
"France is home to half a million Armenians, who are very active," said the French ambassador. "Azerbaijan is important to France as a strategic partner. Every eight months, the French president meets with the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia."
"We want to expand relations in the sphere of economy, transport and others," Monnier said. "At the same time we want to achieve development in the field of culture and education, we intend to create a French-Azerbaijani University in Baku."
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.