“France’s aspiration to arm Armenia in any way possible, to drag it again into aggression and military ventures is unacceptable. France should realize that these efforts, as well as historically ongoing attempts to interfere in our region, will fail,” the foreign ministry said in a commentary circulated in response to statements by French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna at a press conference in Yerevan.
Baku strongly condemned Colonna’s remarks “about the forced eviction of Armenians from Karabakh”, emphasizing that they aim to mislead the international community.
The commentary also noted that Paris’ statements about its unwavering support for Armenia “once again prove the absolute groundlessness of France’s assertions voiced for 30 years that it is a neutral and independent mediator”.
At a press conference in Yerevan on Tuesday, Colonna announced France’s readiness to sign an agreement on military assistance with Armenia.
September 19 marked another escalation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku announced the beginning of “local anti-terrorist measures” and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian military from the region. Yerevan said that there are no Armenian armed forces in Karabakh and called what is happening “an act of large-scale aggression”. On September 20, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced that an agreement had been reached with the participation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to suspend anti-terrorist activities in Karabakh.
President of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) Samvel Shahramanyan signed a decree on September 28 on the termination of its existence from January 1, 2024. The population is instructed to consider the reintegration conditions proposed by Baku and independently decide if they wish to stay.
Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani news agency APA reported Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has refused to participate in a meeting with the leaders of Armenia, France, Germany and the European Council that was scheduled to take place in the Spanish city of Granada on October 5.
“Azerbaijan has refused to participate in the five-party meeting that was planned to take place in Spain’s Granada on October 5,” the report said.
According to the report, Azerbaijan proposed to invite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to come to the talks, but Paris and Berlin opposed the idea. The report named this disagreement as one of the reasons for the meeting being scrapped. Another reason, according to the news agency, was the recent pro-Armenian statements by France and European Council President Charles Michel. Azerbaijan, for example, pointed to France’s plans to supply arms to Armenia.
Besides, the report added Baku does feel compelled to discuss regional issues with countries that are located far away from the area in question. The news agency said Azerbaijan could instead participate in a trilateral meeting involving Armenia and the EU.
“No format with the participation of France is acceptable for Azerbaijan. Baku will not attend such a platform,” the report noted.
The meeting was planned to take place on the sidelines of the European Political Community Summit. The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia previously met on the sidelines of the European Political Community summits in Prague and Chisinau. The latest meeting, in Prague, was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and Charles Michel. The talks in Chisinau involved France, Germany and the EU.