Azerbaijan accuses France’s Macron of pro-Armenian ‘bias’

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Azerbaijan on Friday denounced as “unacceptable and biased” French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent remarks on Baku’s decades-long conflict with arch-foe Armenia.

Baku and Yerevan have fought two wars - in 2020 and in the 1990s - over Azerbaijan’s Armenian populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Deadly clashes in September along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have raised fears of a fresh all-out conflict.

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In comments to French television Wednesday, Macron said “Azerbaijan launched a terrible war, with many deaths, atrocious scenes and has recaptured the territory” of Karabakh.

More recently, “Azerbaijan has launched several offensives along the border (with Armenia). We have condemned them. We will not abandon Armenians.”

The remarks were “unacceptable and biased,” the foreign ministry in Baku said Friday, adding that “Azerbaijan is forced to reconsider France’s efforts in mediating” Armenian-Azerbaijani talks.

On Friday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijan’s Jeyhun Bayramov met for talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.

Following a slew of diplomatic efforts from the European Union and the United States, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met on October 3 in Geneva to begin drafting the text of a future peace treaty.

Last week, the European Union announced a “civilian EU mission” to Armenia to help delineate the borders with Azerbaijan.

The decision was reached during an October 6 meeting in Prague between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Macron and European Council President Charles Michel.

The six-week war in autumn 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swaths of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

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