'Presidential summit is best opportunity for progress in peace talks'

  16 October 2017    Read: 832
'Presidential summit is best opportunity for progress in peace talks'

The upcoming presidential summit is the best opportunity for progress in talks to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Nathalie Goulet, French senator and vice-chair of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, made the remark when commenting on the upcoming Geneva meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents on October 16.

Stressing that the OSCE Minsk Group wasn’t especially efficient in the past, Goulet said that now the OSCE MG is back with a new initiative, which looks like a U.S. initiative after the South Caucasus saw its worst outbreak of violence in more than two decades.

In April 2016, the Armenian troops resorted to new series of aggression and provoked a deadly exchange of artillery fire. To protect civilian population, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces launched counter attacks and as a result, the Azerbaijani troops retook hills around the village of Talish, as well as Seysulan settlement, and also took over Lele Tepe hill located in the direction of Fizuli region.

Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan twice met following the April clashes. The Vienna and St. Petersburg meetings were then regarded as a positive sign for the resolution of the conflict. But, the
Armenian side once again was able to smash hopes for peace further staging provocations on the frontline.

Goulet went on to say that the civil society has also to work together in Azerbaijan and Armenia for a lasting peace.

“My opinion is that the peace will come from the people the self,” she said.

Asked whether holding of hearings by the Helsinki Commission at the time of the President's summit may put a pressure on the talks, Goulet said that the Helsinki meeting maybe the opportunity to see the position of the new Trump administration regarding the conflict.

The Helsinki Commission is chaired by Chris Smith, who enjoys close ties with the Armenian lobby in the U.S. Smith was also the initiator of the anti-Azerbaijani bill previously submitted to the U.S. Congress by the Helsinki Commission.

Azerbaijan and Armenia for over two decades have been locked in a conflict, which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims to Azerbaijan. Since the 1990s war, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Although the UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, they have not been enforced to this day.

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