France’s president on Wednesday voiced solidarity with Armenia amid its conflict with Azerbaijan over Armenian-occupied Upper Karabakh.
Claiming that it was Azerbaijan last weekend that started the conflict, Emmanuel Macron called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to end the conflict unconditionally, adding that he had discussed this issue with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
“I wanted these attacks to end. I explicitly condemned these disproportionate attacks,” he said in a news conference during a visit to Latvia.
“Something has been happening since July,” he added, evidently referring to the martyring of 12 Azerbaijani soldiers and the wounding of four others when Armenia launched a border attack that month.
“It was determined that the attacks on Sunday came from Azerbaijan,” claimed Macron, adding: “Both sides must comply with the cease-fire.”
Border clashes broke out early Sunday when Armenian forces in Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh – a region illegally occupied by Armenia since 1991 – targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to multiple casualties.
He said he would also discuss the issue with the US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I have noticed the political statements made by Turkey [in favor of Azerbaijan], which I find to be inconsiderate and risky,” said Macron, a frequent critic of Turkey.
“France is concerned by the warlike messages from Turkey which is in favor of Azerbaijan’s reconquering Nagorno-Karabakh. And that we won’t accept it,” he added, not mentioning that the region is internationally recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan.
Macron said that Armenia's sovereignty and people should be respected, urging against any statements that would raise tensions.
Turkey slams France’s approach
Separately, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday slammed France as well as the international community for just urging a cease-fire but failing to call on Armenia to leave the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
"This is not a proper approach," he told Anadolu Agency, adding that Macron’s solidarity with Armenia, while showing no concern about the occupied Azerbaijani lands, effectively means supporting occupation.
Upper Karabakh conflict
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed on in 1994.
France, Germany and Russia, among others, have called for an immediate halt to clashes in the occupied region.
*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak