BAKU — Azerbaijan announced the expulsion of two French diplomats on Tuesday after repeatedly accusing France of siding with Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said that it summoned French Ambassador Anne Boillon to express a “strong protest over the actions of two employees of the French Embassy” which are “incompatible with their diplomatic status.” The two were ordered to leave the country within 48 hours, it said without specifying those actions.

There was no immediate reaction from Paris to the move, and it was not immediately clear what prompted it. Tensions between the two countries have climbed in recent years, as France has stepped up support for Armenia and escalated its criticism of Azerbaijan.

Like other Western powers, France condemned Baku’s September 19-20 military offensive in Karabakh that forced its population to flee to Armenia. Paris also initiated an emergency session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Karabakh.

France has also pledged to provide military aid to Armenia, citing Azerbaijani threats to its territorial integrity. In late October, it became the first Western nation to sign arms deals with Yerevan.

Baku condemned those deals in November, saying that they will “bolster Armenia’s military potential and its ability to carry out destructive operations in the region.” Armenian officials countered that these and other arms acquisitions by Yerevan are a response to an Azerbaijani military build-up which has continued even after the 2020 war in Karabakh.

Earlier in October, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev cancelled a planned meeting in Spain with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Union Council President Charles. He objected to Macron’s presence at the talks.

Speaking on December 15, Aliyev said that “some political leaders in France want to be more Armenian than the Armenians.” He had earlier accused Paris of fomenting “Armenian separatism” in Karabakh.

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