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Russia, France Praise Armenian-Azeri Summit


Russia -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault arrive for their talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry guest house in Moscow, Russia, 19 April 2016.

Russia -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault arrive for their talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry guest house in Moscow, Russia, 19 April 2016.

Russia and France hailed on Tuesday the results of the latest meeting of Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s presidents which they co-hosted together with the United States in a bid to de-escalate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of Moscow’s “guarded optimism” regarding the shaky ceasefire regime in the conflict zone following the summit held in Vienna on Monday.

“We want to hope that there are grounds for guarded optimism in the sense that [the summit] will allow the continuation of a sustainable ceasefire,” the official, Dmitry Peskov, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

“France welcomes the results of the meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh that took place in Vienna on May 16 and allowed us to renew the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan after the deadly clashes of April 2-5,” the French Foreign Ministry said for its part.

In a statement, the ministry described as “very important” Presidents Serzh Sarkisian’s and Ilham Aliyev’s pledges to bolster the ceasefire regime and resume talks on a compromise solution to the Karabakh dispute.

“France calls on the parties to respect [these commitments] and will continue to play a mediating role as a co-chair of the [OSCE] Minsk Group with our Russian and American partners,” added the statement.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and State Secretary for Europe Affairs Harlem Desir met with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in Paris ahead of the Vienna summit. They will receive Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov later this week.

France, Russia and the U.S. have been spearheading international efforts to broker an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal since the late 1990s. That explains why Desir, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chaired the Vienna talks. Lavrov visited Baku and Yerevan shortly after the April 2 escalation.

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