French FM slams Russian ‘complicity’ in Karabakh, calls for international diplomatic action
France needs more support to help preserve Armenia’s territorial integrity and protect the displaced populations of Nagorno-Karabakh, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told lawmakers as she announced several international initiatives on Tuesday.
“France will be taking initiatives in the coming days […] at national level, bilaterally with Armenia, at the United Nations as a permanent member of the Security Council and within the European Union”, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced on Tuesday.
During the government question time, members of the National Assembly questioned Colonna about the fate of Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijan launched a military operation.
“Russia’s abandonment of Armenia and its complicity in Azerbaijan’s military operations make international diplomatic action even more necessary”, the minister said about Azerbaijan’s military operation that led to a mass exodus of nearly 19,000 people to Armenia
Russia had supported a ceasefire agreement that led to a return to calm in 2020. Since then, it has been deploying “peacekeepers”, who are visibly letting Azerbaijan off the hook in its offensive against the Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh.
At the end of last week, elected representatives, notably from France, denounced the weakness of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s response on behalf of the EU. Some 60 MEPs from several countries and groups have also asked Borrell to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan’s regime.
On Tuesday, Colonna also suggested that France seeks greater commitment from the EU and the wider international community.
“Alongside France, I hope that we have Europe: more than ever, it must take note of this reality, act with us for the territorial integrity of Armenia” and “preserve the right of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to live in peace”, said Colonna while also reiterating that “no country helps Armenia more than [France]”.
Addressing the MPs on Tuesday, Colonna also thanked them for “encouraging French diplomacy to support [Armenia] even more, not alone but with others”, adding that France “needs it”.
The head of French diplomacy also announced that France would be stepping up its defence cooperation with Armenia, that French humanitarian aid to the country would be increased from €5 million to €12 million and that a consular office would be opened in the Syunik border region.
Asked earlier in the day about the European position, she said it was “clear” and indicated that “consultations with our European partners are continuing”.
(Davide Basso | Euractiv.fr)