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Azerbaijani president accuses Paris of favoring a “new war” in the Caucasus

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev accused France of “preparing the ground for a new war” in the Caucasus by “arming” Armenia, of which it is a historic supporter, according to a press release published Tuesday.

Paris is “destabilizing” the region by “arming” Armenia and “preparing the ground for a new war in our region,” Mr. Aliyev said in a message written for an international conference being held in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.

The two neighbors maintain very conflictual relations, and tensions are at their highest since Azerbaijan’s lightning reconquest in September of Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist territory that Baku and Yerevan have disputed for more than three decades.

Before that, the two countries had already clashed in two wars for control of this enclave, one between 1988 and 1994 and the other in the fall of 2020.

France has been involved in mediation between these two former Soviet republics in recent months, and has also shown its unwavering support for Armenia.

The latter fears that the reconquest of Nagorno-Karabakh has emboldened its powerful neighbor, richer and better armed, and that it is now violating its territorial integrity.

Paris, for example, announced that it had given its agreement to the delivery of military equipment to Armenia, which wants to better protect itself.

These positions earned France harsh criticism from Ilham Aliev.

For its part, the country recently accused Azerbaijan of having led a campaign of information manipulation aimed at damaging France’s reputation in its ability to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

Since Baku’s last victorious offensive, almost the entire Armenian population, more than 100,000 people out of the 120,000 recorded, has fled to Armenia.

Peace talks between the two countries have been initiated several times, but have made little progress in recent times.

Last week, Azerbaijan refused to participate in negotiations planned in the United States in November with Armenia, citing a “biased” position from Washington.

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