France wants to increase efforts to find a solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that his country wanted to start looking for the ways of settling the Karabakh conflict since the current situation was “not an option”, adding that “France seeks peace and stability in the region.”
“France, as co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, will make the necessary efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and we believe that it is necessary to improve the work of the OSCE in this regard”, Mr. Le Drian said. His Azerbaijani foreign minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that he was having substantive discussions on the issue adhering to the strategy of resolving the conflict peacefully. On the occasion of marking Azerbaijan’s National Day on 28 May, also the US State Department reiterated that it remained “committed to finding a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and urge the parties to resume intensive negotiations as soon as possible.”
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a territorial and ethnic conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh and seven adjacent districts that are internationally recognized as de jure part of Azerbaijan. The conflict has its origins in the early 20th century when the predominantly Armenian-populated region was made autonomous by Joseph Stalin. A cease-fire was negotiated in 1994 but decades of internationally mediated talks have failed to find a resolution. As of 2017, public opinion in both Armenia and Azerbaijan has been described as “increasingly entrenched, bellicose and uncompromising” and as such long-term mutual concessions could threaten internal stability and the status quo among the ruling elites in the shorter term hence leaving little incentive to compromise.