PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday blamed Azerbaijan for this month’s deadly fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and urged it to stop using force to resolve the conflict with Armenia.
Meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Paris, Macron said Azerbaijani troops should withdraw from Armenian border areas seized by them during the two-day hostilities that broke out on the night from September 12-13.
“Since [Armenian army] positions were captured, France demanded that Azerbaijani forces return to their initial positions,” he told the press before the start of the talks with Pashinyan at the presidential Elysee Palace. “I said that to President [Ilham] Aliyev right from September 14.
The fact that the border is not delimited does not justify advances into the territory of the other country. I have also said since September 13 that France believes recourse to force cannot be a solution for Armenia or Azerbaijan and that the dialogue must be reestablished without delay.”
“President Aliyev, to whom I will speak again in the coming hours, says that he too is willing to put an end to regional instability and strive for solutions. But one cannot build peace while threatening to use force,” stressed Macron.
Macron said he will discuss with Pashinyan ways of “consolidating” the shaky ceasefire and preventing another escalation of the conflict. In that regard, he called for the resumption of high-level Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations mediated by the European Union.
Pashinyan thanked Macron for condemning the Azerbaijani “aggression.” He also reiterated his stated readiness to sign a comprehensive Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty if Baku agrees to recognize Armenia’s current borders.
“France holds the presidency of the UN Security Council, and also with the support of France and personally President Macron, the issue of another aggression by Azerbaijan against Armenia was included in its agenda. An earnest discussion took place, and the issue remains on the agenda of the Security Council”. Pashinyan stated.
As for the Nagorno-Kasrabakh conflict Pashinyan said: “We also attach importance to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, which will guarantee the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. I think the start of Azerbaijan-Nagorno Karabakh discussions can be useful. In this context, I must emphasize the role of France as an OSCE Co-chair country.