YEREVAN, May 12. / ARKA /. France is looking for ways to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully, French president Francois Hollande said today at a joint press conference with Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev in Baku, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
He said France can not take the side of one of the parties to the conflict and continue its mediation efforts.
"I want to say that my visit to the region is not directed against anyone. It is aimed at strengthening of ties among the countries. It is to help the regional countries to themselves determine their own future. This applies to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia," Hollande said.
In turn, Aliyev said that he had discussed with Hollande the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"I hope that with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk co-chairs this conflict will be resolved. The conflict must be resolved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan will never allow the creation of a second Armenian state on its territory," he said.
Earlier, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the ceasefire agreement the OSCE Minsk Group cop-chairs from Russia, France and USA said: “We share a common position on this conflict, and remain firmly committed to helping the sides reach a peaceful settlement as soon as possible based on the core principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, particularly those pertaining to the non-use of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”
A settlement will have to include the elements outlined by the Presidents of the co-chair countries in statements from 2009 to 2013, which include the return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh guaranteeing security and self-governance, a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, final status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be determined in the future by a legally-binding expression of will, the right of all internally-displaced persons and refugees to return, and international security guarantees, including a peacekeeping operation. In November we saw a promising renewal of dialogue at the highest levels. We call on the sides to enter into constructive, good-faith negotiations resulting in a peace agreement based on these elements in order to bring about a lasting settlement to the conflict,” the co-chairs said.
“Such a settlement will not be possible without a basis of trust and understanding between the Armenian and Azerbaijani people. We call on the sides to commit to active people to people programs and security confidence building measures to reinforce the peace process.
Armenians and Azerbaijanis deserve to live in peace and security, and we stand ready to help. The sides must take the necessary steps towards peace. When they do, it will be with the full support of the OSCE and the international community,” the statement concludes.-0-