Azerbaijan Slams France for ‘Undermining’ Peace Efforts in South Caucasus
Azerbaijan’s president cancels Granada summit trip after French government pledges military support for Armenia
Azerbaijan on Thursday sharply criticized France for “undermining” peace efforts in the South Caucasus.
Hikmat Hajiyev, foreign policy advisor of Azerbaijan’s president, said Baku has decided not to participate in today’s EU summit in Granada due to the French government’s recent actions.
He said the French government’s “biased actions” and “militarization” policy was a serious threat to regional peace and stability in the South Caucasus, which could put at risk the EU’s overall policy toward the region.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna visited Yerevan on Tuesday and announced that they are ready for the delivery of military equipment to Armenia.
A long-awaited meeting in Granada, between the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Germany, France, and EU Council President Charles Michel, was canceled following the latest diplomatic spat.
Hajiyev said Baku had proposed the participation of Türkiye, and the host country Spain in the planned meeting, but their proposal was also rejected by France.
The meeting was scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the third summit of the European Political Community, which was an initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron and for which leaders from over 40 European countries were invited.
Hajiyev underlined that Azerbaijan is still open to further talks in Brussels, in the format of the EU, Azerbaijan and Armenia, which would be facilitated by EU Council President Charles Michel.
“At the same time, Azerbaijan supports direct and bilateral dialogue and negotiations on the process of normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the peace treaty talks,” he said in a statement on social media.
EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed regret on Thursday over the cancellation of the planned meeting in Granada with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“It’s a pity that Azerbaijan isn’t here and it’s a pity that Türkiye, as the main country that supports Azerbaijan, isn’t here either,” he told reporters.
Azerbaijan regained full control over its territory of Karabakh last month after taking counter-terrorism actions in the area, which resulted in the surrender of illegal armed groups, ending the decades-long conflict.
Authorities have repeatedly said that they will protect the rights and ensure the security of the Armenian residents in Karabakh, in accordance with Azerbaijan’s law.