French envoy talks Karabakh status, calls for larger int'l presence

July 23, 2021 – 14:23 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – French ambassador to Jonathan Lacôte has said that the status of Nagorno- must be determined through negotiations within the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship.

In an interview with the Armenian service of RFE/RL, Lacôte said unless the conflict is settled, neither of France’s ambassadors to Armenia or Azerbaijan can visit Karabakh.

His comments came after the ambassadors of the United States, France and Russia rejected the invitation of the Azerbaijani government to visit the Nagorno-Karabakh city of Shushi, which came under Baku’s control during the 44-day war in fall 2020. Ambassadors of dozens of other countries, however, did accept the invitation and were pictured taking selfies near the iconic Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, which was targeted by Azerbaijan’s precision guided missiles twice within hours.

Lacôte said France is in favor of a larger international presence in Karabakh. He cited the activity of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the region as “excellent” and called for UN involvement as well.

The ambassador said a number of issues have yet to be tackled, such as the return of the Armenian prisoners of war, the new border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh in general.

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