DEAUVILLE — The presidents of the United States, France and Russia pressed Armenia and Azerbaijan on Thursday to hammer out a framework agreement to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, warning that failure to do so soon would call into question their commitment to peace.
“We … are convinced the time has arrived for all the sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to take a decisive step towards a peaceful settlement,” said a joint statement by Presidents Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Dmitry Medvedev at the G8 summit in the French resort of Deauville.
”We therefore call upon the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate their political will by finalizing the Basic Principles [of a Karabakh settlement] during their upcoming summit in June,” the statement said.
“Further delay would only call into question the commitment of the sides to reach an agreement,” it added.
Obama, Sarkozy and Medvedev referred to “the latest version of the Basic Principles” which they said were discussed by Presidents Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan at their most recent meeting hosted by the Russian leader in Sochi in March. Medvedev is due to organize another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit next month.
In a warning that seemed primarily addressed to the Azerbaijani leadership, the U.S., Russian and French presidents said attempts to end the Karabakh conflict by force would be condemned by the international community. “We strongly urge the leaders of the sides to prepare their populations for peace, not war,” they said.
Following is the full text of the statement as issued by the White House:
Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
by Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation,
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America,
and Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic
at the Deauville Summit of the Eight,
May 26, 2011
We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chair countries — France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America — are convinced the time has arrived for all the sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to take a decisive step towards a peaceful settlement.
We reiterate that only a negotiated settlement can lead to peace, stability, and reconciliation, opening opportunities for regional development and cooperation. The use of force created the current situation of confrontation and instability. Its use again would only bring more suffering and devastation, and would be condemned by the international community. We strongly urge the leaders of the sides to prepare their populations for peace, not war.
As a result of efforts by the parties and the Co-Chair countries at all levels, significant progress has been made. The latest version of the Basic Principles, as discussed in Sochi on March 5, lays a just and balanced foundation for the drafting of a comprehensive peace settlement. This document, based on the Helsinki Final Act and elements outlined in our joint declarations in L’Aquila in July 2009 and Muskoka in June 2010, provides a way for all sides to move beyond the unacceptable status quo.
We therefore call upon the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate their political will by finalizing the Basic Principles during their upcoming summit in June. Further delay would only call into question the commitment of the sides to reach an agreement. Once an agreement has been reached, we stand ready to witness the formal acceptance of these Principles, to assist in the drafting of the peace agreement, and then to support its implementation with our international partners.