Putin, Hollande discuss Karabakh conflict resolution

By Asbarez | Friday, 01 July 2016

French President Francois Hollande (left) with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at  a recent meeting

French President Francois Hollande (left) with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a recent meeting

MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Thursday discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process during a phone conversation, the Kremlin reported. Also on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev.

“Vladimir Putin informed Francois Hollande about the June 20 tri-partite meeting with presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian in St. Petersburg,” the Kremlin statement said.

“The leaders of Russia and France expressed hope that the results achieved at that meeting would contribute to the promotion of the peace process. The parties agreed to continue active joint work within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group in that important sphere,” it said.

Sakisian’s office on Thursday reported the phone call with Kerry, which came on the same day as Azeri forces began firing at farmers near the Talish region of the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border during the busy harvesting season. Sarkisian said the phone call centered on implementation of agreements reached at the St. Petersburg summit and another one headed by Kerry in Vienna in May.

The State Department released a readout of the conversation saying that Kerry “noted positively that the ceasefire along the Nagorno-Karabakh Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border has largely held in recent weeks, and urged the Presidents to avoid ‎tensions to advance the peace process.”

“Secretary Kerry asked the Presidents to fulfill the commitments, including implementation of the two confidence building measures, they made at the May 16 meeting in Vienna, Austria, and the June 20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia,” the State Department said.

“The Secretary also reiterated the United States’ support for substantive talks that can lead to a comprehensive settlement, and urged the Presidents to continue their dialogue under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs,” added the statement.

Since the St. Petersburg meeting, Aliyev has walked back the reported agreement, saying that Baku had not agreed to the principles as widely reported in the media. Azerbaijani media reported that Aliyev viewed the conversation with Kerry on Thursday as a “new impetus” to the peace process.