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Azerbaijan’s president says France will be to blame if new conflict starts with Armenia

October 8, 2023 1:42 PM IST

Azerbaijan | Armenia | Nagorno-Karabakh | Aliyev

Azerbaijan’s president scolded the European Union and warned that France’s decision to send military aid to Armenia could trigger a new conflict in the South Caucasus after a lightening Azerbaijani military operation last month.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev last week pulled out of an EU-brokered meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at which Brussels said it was standing by Armenia.

But Aliyev criticised the EU’s approach – and particularly France’s position – when European Council, Charles Michel, telephoned him, according to an Azerbaijani statement issued late on Saturday.

President Ilham Aliyev said “that due to the well-known position of France, Azerbaijan did not participate in the meeting in Granada,” the Azerbaijani presidential office said.

“The head of state emphasized that the provision of weapons by France to Armenia was an approach that was not serving peace, but one intended to inflate a new conflict, and if any new conflict occurs in the region, France would be responsible for causing it.”

France has agreed on future contracts with Armenia to supply it with military equipment to help ensure its defences, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Oct. 3 during a visit to Yerevan.

She declined to elaborate on what sort of military aid was envisaged for Armenia under future supply contracts. French President Emmanuel Macron scolded Azerbaijan, saying that Baku appeared to have a problem with international law.

Aliyev restored control over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh last month with a 24-hour military operation which triggered the exodus of most of the territory’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians to Armenia.

Aliyev said he had acted in accordance with international law, adding that eight villages in Azerbaijan were “still under Armenian occupation, and stressed the importance of liberating these villages from occupation.”

(Inputs from Reuters)

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