“Rest assured that France firmly stands by you in meeting challenges facing your country and, in the first instance, settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through negotiations,” read the letter released by Sarkisian’s press office.
“At critical moments for your country, you managed to prove your courage and sense of responsibility that deserve admiration,” Sarkozy said. “I have no doubts that if necessary, you will be capable of taking the risk of peace for the welfare of your country and the region and thus leave your imprint on Armenia’s future.”
Sarkozy already urged both Armenia and Azerbaijan to “take the risk of peace” ahead of his visits to the two South Caucasus states earlier this month. The Karabakh issue was reportedly high on the agenda of his talks with Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
There are no indications yet that Sarkozy managed to kick-start the stalled Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations jointly mediated by France, Russia and the United States.
At their most recent meeting held in June Sarkisian and Aliyev were close to agreeing on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement proposed by the three mediating powers. The Armenian side says a framework peace accord did not materialize because of last-minute changes in the text demanded by Aliyev.
Official Baku has not explicitly denied this. Still, it insists that Yerevan’s “destructive position” is to blame for the lack of decisive progress in the peace talks.
In his letter, Sarkozy also stressed the importance of his state visit to Armenia. He said it will “further strengthen the friendship between our countries.”