G8 Foreign Ministers Call for Karabakh Peace, Armenia-Turkey Ties

g8summitTRIESTE, Italy (Combined Sources)–Foreign Ministers from the Group of Eight most industrialized nations on Friday called for a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the normalization of strained relations between Armenia and Turkey.

The statement came on the second day of a three-day meeting in Trieste, Italy, where the world’s largest industrial powers were discussing international issues, from the ongoing war in Afghanistan to the election turmoil in Iran.

It said the G-8 ministers welcomed “the efforts of Armenia and Turkey to normalize their relations and the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to seek a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

The statement also encouraged greater cooperation in the South Caucasus to “support humanitarian aid programs” and a peaceful settlement of all “unresolved conflicts” in the region.

“We expressed our commitment for achieving regional stabilization. We state our support to efforts carried out to that effect with the active involvement of the UN, the OSCE and the EU,” the statement said. “We strongly encourage the development of regional cooperation.”

The statement followed earlier warnings on June 25 from Moscow that it would not tolerate foreign meddling in the Karabakh conflict from the West.

“Russia is against foisting remedies upon the conflict sides from outside,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared. “Russia is ready to support the option of conflict resolution that is satisfactory to all the sides involved and, in case a compromise agreement is reached, act as guarantor of the resolution.”

The ministry said that the conflict talks’ key mediators–Russia, the US and France–are in general agreement about the main approaches for a resolution to the 21-year conflict.

Speculation in the media has pointed to a possible breakthrough in the conflict that could occur this year, but, as yet, no concrete signs of such a development have emerged.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met for six-hour talks in Paris on Friday with the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. They were reported to have discussed the possibility of their president’s meeting mid July for another round of face-to-face negotiations which international mediators hope will remove the remaining obstacles to a framework peace agreement for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  The two presidents met last on June 4 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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