France seeks international supervision of Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire

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, Reuters said on Thursday.

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, formalising 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, Reuters said.

“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,” the news agency cited a French official as saying.    

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 Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe to find a negotiated settlement over the disputed region, and is co-chaired by France, the United States and Russia.