French Senate pushes Paris to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh

The French Senate has voted to urge the government to recognize the disputed Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic

PARIS -- The French Senate voted Wednesday to urge the government to recognize the disputed Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic.

The vote comes as the French government, French towns and aid groups have stepped up aid efforts in recent days for people fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh. A French cargo flight arrived Monday in the Armenian capital Yerevan with medical and other assistance, and another flight is scheduled for Friday.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. That war left Nagorno-Karabakh itself and substantial surrounding territory in Armenian hands.

Fighting broke out again in September that killed hundreds and possibly thousands of people, until a truce two weeks ago brokered by Russia. The agreement stipulated that Armenia hand over control to Azerbaijan of some areas it holds outside Nagorno-Karabakh’s borders. The latest land handover occurred Wednesday.

The French resolution calls on the government to “recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and use this recognition as an instrument of negotiations for the establishment of a sustainable peace.” It also urges the government to pursue a tougher European response toward Turkey, which has supported Azerbaijan in the conflict, and an international war crimes investigation.