French envoy talks Karabakh, Customs Union, Genocide bill

French envoy talks Karabakh, Customs Union, Genocide bill

PanARMENIAN.Net - The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs never ignored the issue of the Nagorno Karabakh’s involvement in the conflict settlement talks, French envoy to Armenia noted commenting on former co-chair Bernard Fassier’s statement.

“Fassier, who earlier stressed the necessity of Karabakh’s involvement in the talks, is an experienced diplomat and has extensive knowledge of the issue, so I cannot really question his words,” Henri Reynaud said.

“I can only add that the OSCE MG will take every effort to promote the settlement. However, the MG is a mediatory mission and can only offer the settlement options to the conflicting parties, with the latters responsible for final decision.”

According to the envoy, with elections completed both in Armenia and Azerbaijan, the countries might come up with new suggestions. The ambassador also stressed the necessity of rapid settlement of the conflict, which prevents the development of the region, Armenia Today said.

According to Panorama.am, the envoy said that Armenia’s sovereign decision to join the Customs Union was accepted, with the country’s leadership having expressed a wish to continue relations with the EU.

“EU, as well, did not close its doors to further partnership with Armenia in a number of sectors and formats, such as administration, legal, etc., which are not covered by the Customs Union,” he noted.

The envoy offered no comment on reports suggesting Armenia was pressured by Russia into joining the Customs Union.

As he further noted, a new bill on criminalization of the Armenian Genocide hasn’t yet been submitted to the French parliament, according to Novosti-Armenia.

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan broke out as result of the ethnic cleansing launched by the Azeri authorities in the final years of the Soviet Union. The Karabakh War was fought from 1991 (when the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed) to 1994 (when a ceasefire was sealed by Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan). Most of Nagorno Karabakh and a security zone consisting of 7 regions are now under control of NKR defense army. Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group up till now.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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