French President Emmanuel Macron has called for international supervision of the agreement that ended fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“The end of the fighting should now allow the resumption of good faith negotiations in order to protect the population of Nagorno-Karabakh and ensure the return of tens of thousands of people who have fled their homes in recent weeks in good security conditions,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Reuters after calls with the Azerbaijani president and Armenian prime minister on Thursday November 19th.
Russia brokered a ceasefire between the two former Soviet Republics earlier this month and has deployed a peace-keeping force to the region, so far without the involvement of other international actors. But Turkey recently indicated that it would also seek to send troops to Azerbaijan, formalizing its intervention in the conflict. Ankara is a close ally of Baku, providing military equipment, expertise and Syrian mercenary forces for use in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Recent contact between Ankara and Moscow has raised fears in Paris that Western powers could be excluded from any long-term settlement.
“We understand that the Russians are talking to the Turks regarding a possible formula, which we don’t want, that would replicate the Astana (process) to divide their roles in this sensitive region,” a French official says.
The Astana process enabled Ankara and Moscow to reach a joint accommodation over their differences in the Syrian conflict, sidestepping the United States and European Union. Instead, France will seek a greater role for the Minsk Group in defining surveillance of the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Reuters said.
The Question is now: Does Russia used Nagorno-Karabakh to further detach Turkey from NATO?
Russia has historically sought to play a mediating role between the two former Soviet Republics, and Libaridian said Moscow’s decision to allow the Azeri operation to go ahead required explanation. The move allowed Russia to bolster its relations with both Azerbaijan and Turkey, to the exclusion of NATO and the West. NATO member Turkey has provided significant military support for Azerbaijan, gaining further sway in a country traditionally seen as within Russia’s sphere of influence. But Russia no longer saw Turkey as big a threat as it had done previously, historian and former diplomat Gerard Libaridian stated.
Sources: Reuters – Wion – TASS