French senator: Vienna meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders is excellent step to be back to direct dialogue

French senator: Vienna meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders is excellent step to be back to direct dialogue

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 30

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

The meeting held between Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on March 29 in Vienna is an excellent step to be back to a direct dialogue on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Nathalie Goulet, French senator and vice-chair of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told Trend March 30.

She believes it is also very important that the OSCE Minsk group plays its role and try to move towards a fair solution to the conflict.

“The recent meeting showed a political will [for resolving the conflict]. But taking into account the occupation lasting more than decades, we need a clear act, not only talks,” she said, adding that at least, it is necessary firstly achieve liberation of the surrounding districts.

Goulet expressed hope that the direct talks between the leaders of the two countries will give some results, however, she believes that at the same time, civil societies of the two countries must start a dialogue maybe by meeting between women of both countries.

“Also there is a room for parliamentary diplomacy. And for sure, there is more courage to make peace than to start a war,” she concluded.

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan met on March 29 in Vienna for the first time under the auspices of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America).

The meeting was also attended by Foreign Ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov. Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, also participated in the meeting.

The statement issued on the results of the meeting reads that the two leaders underlined the importance of building up an environment conducive to peace and taking further concrete and tangible steps in the negotiation process to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

“Recalling their conversation in Dushanbe, the leaders recommitted to strengthening the ceasefire and improving the mechanism for direct communication. They also agreed to develop a number of measures in the humanitarian field,” said the statement.

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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn

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