Azerbaijan calls on Armenia to return to negotiations
Azerbaijan expects Armenia to return to the negotiation table for a lasting settlement of the Karabakh conflict, noted Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah.
Speaking at a news conference with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, Bayramov said he is ready for further dialogue on normalization with Armenia.
The top diplomat added that he informed his French counterpart about Baku’s “clear position” in the post-conflict period.
According to Bayramov, the situation on the Lachin corridor, where Azerbaijan has established a checkpoint, was also discussed during the meeting.
“I informed my colleague about the illegal use of the Lachin road, including for the purpose of illegal visits to the territories of our country by citizens of third countries, as well as the plundering of Azerbaijan’s natural resources,” he said.
Bayramov said the Lachin road was used to transport mines to Karabakh, adding that 294 people have been killed in mines explosions since 2020, when the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict ended with the signing of the trilateral agreement between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
“Against the background of Yerevan ignoring Baku’s appeals, Azerbaijan eventually decided to install a checkpoint on the Lachin road to ensure transparency of its use. The Lachin road is open and will continue to be so,” he said.
Bayramov also drew attention to Paris’ “biased” and “pro-Armenian” position on the matter, recalling that France has never appealed to Armenia on any issues regarding normalization.
Prior to their news conference, Bayramov and Colonna held one-on-one and expanded talks in Baku with their delegations.
“In the extensive meeting, the issues on the current agenda of cooperation between Azerbaijan and France, the current state of relations, including the events in the region, were discussed,” read a statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
Aside from the subject of normalization with Armenia and the current situation surrounding the Lachin road, Bayramov focused on bolstering bilateral ties, according to the statement.
It further said Bayramov underlined the opportunities in continuing effective cooperation between the two countries, stressing that mutual contacts and political dialogue are important for discussing the current state of bilateral relations, as well as evaluating prospects and possibilities to eliminate misunderstandings.
It also said Colonna pointed out the importance of continuing close contacts and political consultations in developing bilateral ties, although their “approaches on a number of issues do not coincide.”
“Despite the fact that it will take a long time to find a solution to the issues of peace and confidence building in the region, Minister Catherine Colonna emphasized the importance of commitment to the negotiation process and said that France is ready to support efforts to establish peace in the region,” it added.