Turkey cool to U.S., Russia, France ceasefire effort in Nagorno-Karabakh

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan talks to media after attending Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday it was unacceptable that the United States, Russia and France were involved in a search for a ceasefire in a disputed Caucasus region given they had neglected problems there for 30 years.

Erdogan also repeated in a speech to the Turkish parliament that Armenia must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh if there is to be lasting peace in the region where Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces have clashed for five days.

“Given that the USA, Russia and France have neglected this problem for nearly 30 years, it is unacceptable that they are involved in a search for a ceasefire,” Erdogan said.

As his speech was ending, these three countries issued a statement demanding an immediate ceasefire between the Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan but run by its mostly ethnic Armenian inhabitants.

France, Russia and the United States are co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group which was set up in 1992 to mediate a peaceful resolution over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

Reporting by Daren Butler and Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Jonathan Spicer