MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have pledged to continue jointly seeking an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the OSCE Minsk Group co-headed by their countries and the United States.

Putin and Macron met in Moscow on late Monday for talks that focused on the deepening crisis over Ukraine. They said after the nearly six-hour talks that the Karabakh issue was also on the agenda.

“We reaffirmed the importance of the work of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, including for solving pressing humanitarian and socioeconomic issues in the region,” Putin told a joint news conference.

Macron likewise said Moscow and Paris are keeping up joint efforts within the Minsk Group framework.

Macron briefed Putin on the outcome of his recent joint video conference with European Council President Charles Michel, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

“We raised questions about missing persons, prisoners of war and a number of other issues. These are also elements of stability,” the French president stressed, welcoming the role of the Russian military on the border in the difficult period between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev last month mocked the U.S., Russian and French diplomats leading the Minsk Group and questioned the wisdom of their continued activities.

“They must not deal with the Karabakh conflict because that conflict has been resolved,” Aliyev said, again pointing to the outcome of the 2020 war with Armenia.

A senior Russian diplomat said a few days later that the U.S., Russian and French mediators should be able to resume their visits to Karabakh. Armenian officials backed that statement.

The U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, Lynne Tracy, insisted last week that the conflict remains unresolved. An Armenian government statement cited her as backing continued peace efforts “under the aegis of the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group.”

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