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France says Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire is first step

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Saturday welcomed a ceasefire between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, but said it now had to be fully implemented to ensure conditions were in place to end hostilities permanently.

“It must now be implemented and strictly observed in order to create the conditions for a permanent cessation of hostilities between the two countries,” French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a statement.

“Substantial discussions, to which the parties have engaged under the aegis of the co-chairs of the Minsk group, must resume without preconditions.”

Reporting by John Irish, Editing by William Maclean

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