No Alternative to Peace, Nalbandian tells Reporters in France

STRASBOURG (Combined Sources)–There is a clear demand now to reaffirm that there is no alternative to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE Misnk Group, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian told reporters on Tuesday during a joint press conference with his French Counterpart in Strasbourg.
"Today there is a need to establish mutual trust and a constructive atmosphere for the negotiations," said Nalbandian, who is scheduled to meet his Azerbaijani counterpart in Strasbourg Tuesday. "I hope to continue the constructive dialogue to find ways of peaceful solution with the help of the mediators."
Regarding Armenia’s relations with Turkey, Nalbandian told reporters that Armenia remains ready to reestablish relations without preconditions.
"The political leaders should move forward, and together, turn the black page of history," he said, referring to the Armenian Genocide of 1915. "This will benefit the whole region as well as both our peoples."
Nalbandian’s statemen’s followed his first meeting as Foreign Minister with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. During the meeting the two ministers discussed a series of bilateral, regional and international issues.
Kouchner congratulated Nalbandian on his recent appointment as Armenia’s Foreign Minister. Both ministers emphasized dialogue and mutual understanding between leaders of France and Armenia, expressing readiness to further deepen the close relationships between the two nations.
Stressing the importance of Nalbandian’s contribution to the development of Armenian-French relations as Armenia’s Ambassador to France, Kouchner expressed confidence that he will continue to strengthen bilateral relations in his new capacity as Foreign Minister.
Nalbandian discussed with his counterpart the current program of Armenia’s coalition government formed after the Presidential Election as well as its recent activities in the sphere of deepening reforms and mitigating the consequences of the post-election unrest.
He also discussed the Armenian leadership’s perspective on the requiremen’s for ensuring regional security, the settlement of the existing conflicts and the development of regional cooperation.
Nalbandian discussed the current state of the negotiations, noting in particular Azerbaijan’s growing belligerence and Armenia’s willingness to continue negotiations with Azerbaijan on the basis of the current proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The French Foreign Minister assured Nalbandian that his country would continue working within the OSCE Minsk Group to find ways to resolve the Karabakh conflict.
The two men also discussed in length Armenia’s relations with the European Union within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy. France is set to assume the EU Presidency during the latter half of this year.
At the end of the meeting Nalbandian invited Kouchner to Yerevan, and the invitation was accepted with pleasure.
Nalbandian is in Strasbourg for the 118th session of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers. He met with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov later in the day.

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