On Wednesday (10 November), the foreign ministers (FMs) of Armenia, Ararat Mirzoyan, and Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, held bilateral meetings with the French FM, Jean-Yves Le Drian, before a joint meeting with the trio was conducted under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
According to the Armenian readout, Mirzoyan and Le Drian discussed a variety of issues relating to the deepening of Armenian-French relations and noted the importance of expanding economic ties between the two countries. Additionally, the duo reportedly touched on a number of issues relating to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, with Mirzoyan stressing the need for a peaceful settlement of the issue through negotiations under the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
The Armenian FM also highlighted “the need for the unconditional and speedy repatriation of other Armenian prisoners of war, as well as the need to preserve the Armenian historical, cultural and religious heritage in the territories of Artsakh under Azerbaijani control”.
Finally, Mirzoyan noted that Armenia “highly appreciates the position and steps of the French government and parliament during the days of aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan”, and thanked France for its help in battling the coronavirus.
The Azerbaijani and French FMs exchanged views on the bilateral cooperation agenda, especially in the economic and educational spheres, and discussed regional security issues. Le Drian reportedly expressed France’s interest in developing relations with Azerbaijan, and its readiness to assist Azerbaijan in the demining process.
Bayramov briefed his counterpart on the current situation in the region, Azerbaijan’s position in the current post-conflict period, and detailed the steps taken by Azerbaijan in the direction of implementing trilateral statements
The French FM is also reported as stressing “the importance of normalizing relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, emphasizing that the OSCE Minsk Group could be an important format in this regard”.
The French readout notes that after the two bilateral meetings, Le Drian opened a joint meeting with Mirzoyan and Bayramov under the auspices of the three co-chairs of the Minsk Group, with the aim of continuing the momentum started at the 23 September meeting in New York. During the exchange, Le Drian re-iterated French’s willingness to contribute to the strengthening of dialogue between the parties as a means of promoting sustainable peace in the region, for the benefit of the populations of both countries. He underlined France’s continued determination for the Minsk Group to retain a strong involvement in the resolution of the conflict, and recalled his availability to continue exchanges at a political level with the two parties.