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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Azerbaijan accuses France of stoking 'new war' in Caucasus

BAKU: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday accused France of inciting a fresh war in the Caucasus by arming Baku’s arch foe Armenia, with which it had fought two wars.
Baku and Yerevan have been locked in a decades-long territorial conflict over Azerbaijan‘s Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Baku reclaimed in September after a lightning offensive against Armenian separatists.
“(France) is pursuing a militaristic policy by arming Armenia, encouraging revanchist forces in Armenia, and laying the groundwork for provoking new wars in our region,” Aliyev said in written comments to an international conference in Baku.
In a statement read out by his foreign policy advisor, Aliyev said Paris “is disrupting stability not only in its former and current colonies, but also in the South Caucasus, where it is supporting separatist trends and separatists.”
France, which is home to a large Armenian diaspora, is routinely criticised by Baku for harbouring “pro-Armenian bias” in the Caucasus countries’ territorial conflict.
Internationally mediated peace talks between the ex-Soviet republics have seen little progress but both countries’ leaders have said a comprehensive peace agreement could be signed by the end of the year.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have held several rounds of talks under EU mediation.
But last month, Aliyev refused to attend negotiations with Pashinyan in Spain, citing French bias.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had been scheduled to join EU chief Charles Michel as mediators at those talks.
On Thursday, Baku also refused to participate in normalisation talks with Armenia that were planned in the United States this month over what it said was Washington’s “biased” position.
So far, there has been no visible progress in EU efforts to organise a fresh round of negotiations.

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