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Baku condemns 'baseless allegations' by French president

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published February 23,2024

Baku on Thursday condemned what it called "baseless anti-Azerbaijan allegations" by French President Emmanuel Macron during a news conference in Paris with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan a day earlier.

"As a country, which has never mentioned the rights of Azerbaijanis violated for nearly 30 years, displaced from their territories, and subjected to mass massacres, the French side's statement about the rights and security of Armenians (who) left the territories of Azerbaijan at their own will and without any violence, is completely inappropriate," said a statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

The statement questioned why France did not stand against the occupation of Azerbaijan's Karabakh region by Armenian forces for almost 30 years until a war in 2020, as well as the ongoing occupation of eight Azerbaijani villages, despite touching on the importance of territorial integrity "within the framework of Alma-Ata Declaration and certain maps."

Calling this contradictory, the statement said it was also "unacceptable" to accuse Azerbaijan of "disproportionate response" while refraining from criticizing Armenia, which it said took "unprovoked actions disrupting the stable situation that lasted for almost five months."

"Such biased approaches should be stopped. We once again declare that France's insidious policy of creating new tension in the region, and hindering peace and stability will not yield any results," the statement concluded.

On Wednesday, Macron said France regretted the "disproportionate response" by Azerbaijan in response to cross-border fire earlier this month, which Baku said injured one member of its forces.

Azerbaijan said it carried out a "revenge operation" in response, destroying the combat post from where its troops were fired upon.

According to Armenia's Defense Ministry, four soldiers were killed and one injured.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

Azerbaijan liberated most of the region during the war in the fall of 2020, which ended with a Russian-brokered peace agreement, opening the door to normalization.