France Calls on Azerbaijan to Withdraw its Troops from Armenia

Armenian soldiers killed on Tuesday, clockwise from top left: Henrik Kocharyan, Artur Sahakyan, Mkrtich Harutyunyan and Narek Sarksyan

Baku Accuses France of ‘Smear Campaign”

In response to Azerbaijan’s attack on Armenia on Tuesday, that left four injured dead and six others injured, France’s foreign ministry called on Thursday called on Azerbaijan to withdraw its forces from Armenia.

The French foreign ministry expressed its “deep concern” over “violence near the Tegh settlement in Armenian territory on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan on April 11.”

“Respect for Armenia’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces from occupied positions in the Armenian side of the line of contact are of significant importance for preventing future incidents and maintaining the foundations for sustainable peace in the region,” the French foreign ministry said.

“France fully supports the activities of the EU monitoring mission deployed on the Armenian side of the border, which plays a key role in reducing tension. France will continue to work with the EU to ensure adherence to the ceasefire, dialogue and resumption of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the French Foreign Ministry added.

The statement also touched on the issue of delimiting the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, saying that process “must take place exclusively through negotiations” and called on the parties to continue efforts in this direction.

Azerbaijan accused France’s foreign ministry of a “smear campaign” against Baku and said that it was spreading “disinformation” about Tuesday’s events.

Without elaborating, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said that France’s statements did not “reflect the reality.”

“The statement on the importance of a unilateral respect to the territorial integrity of Armenia by France, which has not called on Armenia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, and has not demanded Armenia to withdraw the Armenian armed forces from the territories of Azerbaijan in accordance with the Trilateral statement and the outcome of the Prague meeting attended by the French President, is an example of France’s bias of France against our country,” Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said.

“France, which did not make judgements on Armenia’s aggression and occupation policy while acting as a mediator in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict for nearly 25 years, did not try to resolve the conflict, and carried out a smear campaign against our country after Azerbaijan ended the occupation and resolved the conflict on its own, has once again demonstrated an unfair position with this statement,” official Baku added.

“We call on France to refrain from such statements that incite Armenia to make further provocations and support revanchist forces,” the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said.