Azerbaijan’s President Warns France Could Trigger New Conflict with Armenia
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Azerbaijan’s president has criticized the European Union and issued a warning that France’s decision to provide military aid to Armenia could lead to a fresh conflict in the South Caucasus. This comes after a swift military operation conducted by Azerbaijan last month.
In a move that showed Azerbaijan’s dissatisfaction with the EU’s stance, President Ilham Aliyev withdrew from a meeting brokered by the EU, which was supposed to include Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Despite Brussels expressing its support for Armenia, Aliyev expressed his disappointment with the EU’s approach, particularly highlighting France’s position during a recent phone call with European Council’s Charles Michel, according to a statement issued by Azerbaijan on Saturday.
Aliyev emphasized that Azerbaijan did not participate in the meeting in Granada due to France’s well-known stance. He stated that France’s decision to provide weapons to Armenia was not conducive to peace, but rather aimed at inflaming a new conflict. Aliyev held France accountable, stating that if any fresh conflict were to occur in the region, France would be responsible for causing it.
France has reached agreements with Armenia for future contracts to supply military equipment, aimed at bolstering Armenia’s defenses, as stated by Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna during her visit to Yerevan on October 3. However, she did not provide further details regarding the nature of the military aid to be provided under these contracts. French President Emmanuel Macron admonished Azerbaijan, suggesting that Baku had issues with abiding by international law.
Last month, Aliyev successfully regained control over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh through a 24-hour military operation. This operation prompted the exodus of the majority of the region’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians to Armenia.
Aliyev maintained that his actions were in accordance with international law. He emphasized that eight villages in Azerbaijan are still under Armenian occupation and stressed the importance of liberating these villages from occupation.