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Azerbaijan criticises French President’s statements on refusal of Azerbaijan and Turkey to participate in meeting on Karabakh

Azerbaijan on Friday criticised claims by French President Emmanuel Macron that the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan had refused to attend a meeting in Spain this week on the latest events in the southern Caucasus region of Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement:

Allegations of the French President (Emmanuel Macron) on the refusal of Azerbaijan and Türkiye to participate in the (European Political Community) Granada meeting is a clear case of hypocrisy. The participants of this event are well aware of the particular opposition of France to Türkiye’s participation in the meeting. The French president spreading false information on this issue is improper behavior for the head of state.

The ministry also called France’s attempts to dictate rules of behaviour to Azerbaijan on the issue of minority rights “totally unacceptable”.

Azerbaijan is “a country setting an example with its multicultural and multiethnic values, where many ethnicities live in peace and prosperity,” while France “is being remembered by its genocide policy” and remains the only EU member state which did not join the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, it claimed.

The ministry noted that France had been a member of the Minsk Group, a group of countries designed to help resolve the Karabakh issue after nearly 30 years of Armenian occupation, but the activities of this group are considered ineffective by most observers. The representative of the ministry said:

How France, which is now talking about ‘fair mediation,’ mediated during the period of 23 years is well-known. The intentions of France are obvious when it states (it is) being a neutral mediator while ignoring the massacres of Azerbaijanis, their livelihood when they became Internally Displaced Persons and refugees by use of force, disregarding the four UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the razing of cities and villages to the ground, and looking the other way while Armenia, contrary to its obligations, failed to withdraw its armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan and continued its military and political provocations.

The ministry called “ridiculous” France’s accusation that Azerbaijan had “occupied” 150 square kilometres (58 square miles) of Armenian territory, saying Paris had turned a blind eye for 30 years to the Armenian occupation of Karabakh, which makes up about 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory. It said:

Azerbaijan has not occupied the territory of any country, and the assertion that the territories on which the forces of Azerbaijan are deployed on the undelimited border belong to Armenia is completely illogical.

The ministry said that Azerbaijan had always had the right to end the occupation of its territories both diplomatically and militarily. This right has always existed “within the framework of the UN Charter, norms and principles of international law”. It added:

It was the mediation efforts involving France failing to yield results and the failure to prevent Armenia’s aggressive policy that led Azerbaijan to liberate its lands militarily.

The ministry stressed that during the negotiation process Azerbaijan repeatedly pointed to the need to “withdraw the Armenian armed forces…. eliminate the puppet regime” in Karabakh, referring to the self-proclaimed unrecognised “state” that collapsed last month. It claimed:

In this regard, claims of the French president on Azerbaijan’s alleged promise to not use force against the illegal separatist regime are baseless. If France directed Armenia on the right path instead of making false promises, there would be no need to resolve the threat against Azerbaijan by force, and the issue would have been solved peacefully.

In autumn 2020. Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, liberated numerous settlements in Karabakh, a region internationally recognised as Azerbaijani territory, from Armenian occupation over 44 days of fighting. The war ended with a ceasefire mediated by Russia.

On 19 September, the Azerbaijani army conducted an anti-terrorist operation in Karabakh. Twenty-four hours after the start of these operations, the illegal Armenian armed formations in Karabakh capitulated. Azerbaijan, which had established full sovereignty in the Karabakh region, called on the Armenian population to become part of Azerbaijani society.

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