France Says Mediators Pushing For Ceasefire Talks

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

YEREVAN (—France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday that talks will be held in the coming days to try to convince the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to halt hostilities.

Le Drian told French lawmakers that the talks will take place in Geneva on Thursday and Moscow on Monday.

France, Russia and the United States will organize them in an attempt to start an unconditional dialogue between the warring sides, the Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. No other details were reported.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry announced later in the day that Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov will meet with the French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in Geneva on Thursday. It said Bayramov will “present Azerbaijan’s position on the conflict’s resolution.”

For his part, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan will travel to Moscow on Monday. Anna Naghdalyan, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said preparations for the visit have been underway for “some time.”

Naghdalyan stressed that no talks between the two ministers are due to take place in Geneva on Thursday.

“Armenia’s principled position is that there cannot be a situation where they hold negotiations with one hand and conduct military operations against Armenia and Artsakh with the other,” she said. “An end to Azerbaijan’s large-scale military aggression against Artsakh is imperative now.”

The U.S., Russian and French mediators have persistently called on the parties to restore a ceasefire regime since the outbreak of large-scale fighting in in the Karabakh conflict zone on September 27. Baku has said until now that this is conditional on international “guarantees” of Armenian withdrawal from Karabakh. Yerevan rejects this precondition.

Le Drian on Wednesday also denounced Turkey “military involvement” on the side of Azerbaijan in the conflict. He said it “risks fueling the internationalization of the conflict.”


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