The French ambassador to Armenia, Henri Reynaud, on Monday sounded optimistic about prospects for a breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiating process following the latest joint statement by the presidents of France, Russia and the United States.
“I expect a rapid agreement on the principles of the settlement,” said Reynaud. “I expect that [the parties] will rapidly get engaged in negotiations on the [comprehensive] agreement itself.”
“I expect that the agreement will be rapidly put into practice. I expect that tension on the frontier will decrease. I expect that trust will replace distrust and cooperation will replace hostility,” he told a news conference.
According to Reynaud, the conflicting parties understand the significance of the “extremely strong and clear statement” on the Karabakh dispute that was issued by Presidents Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Dmitry Medvedev at the G8 summit in the French resort of Deauville on Thursday.
The three leaders, whose countries co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, urged the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents to finalize the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement during their next meeting due in Kazan, Russia in June. “Further delay would only call into question the commitment of the sides to reach an agreement,” they warned.
“I expect that the call contained in the statement adopted in Deauville on this subject will be respected,” said Reynaud. He said he therefore looks forward to the Kazan summit to be hosted by Medvedev.
Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev reported progress shortly after their last trilateral meeting with Medvedev held in another Russian city, Sochi, in March. Official Yerevan and Baku subsequently accused each other of torpedoing the peace process, however.
They both swiftly welcomed the Deauville statement. Each side said the onus is on the other to make the Kazan meeting successful.