International mediators brokering a solution to the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hope that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will accept the French leader’s invitation to hold their next round of talks in Paris, one of them said on Tuesday.
French President Francois Hollande offered to host a meeting between Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev when he visited Yerevan and Baku as part of his regional tour in May.
In an interview with Azerbaijan’s APA news agency, James Warlick, the United States co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group, said: “We witnessed that progress is possible when the presidents met in Vienna last November and believe that a continuation of that discussion is an important step in progress towards peace. The Co-Chairs and the U.S. stand ready to help in any way we can.”
He once again emphasized that “there is no military solution to this conflict” and said that the mediators, including the Co-Chairs from France and Russia, look forward to meeting with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels on July 22 “to discuss next steps”.
Addressing the latest escalation of tensions along the volatile border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and around Nagorno-Karabakh, Warlick said: “We are concerned about any loss of life on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and the Line of Contact. The number of incidents and resulting deaths and injuries is also a setback in our efforts to work with parties to find a lasting peace.”
“The U.S. and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs are committed to helping the sides find a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the diplomat added.
According to Warlick, the new French co-chair of the group, Ambassador Pierre Andrieu, has already started his duties.