Sunday, Azerbaijan Again Slams France Over ‘Bias’ Official Baku has criticized France over its allegedly “biased” position on an order issued by a United Nations court earlier this week to oblige Azerbaijan to ensure the safety of ethnic Armenians who want to return to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Order issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on November 17 after Armenia’s request for a provisional measure following Azerbaijan’s lightning offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh in September that resulted in the exodus of the region’s ethnic Armenian population has been hailed in Yerevan as well as in Paris. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France said in a statement that the ICJ’s Order that also stipulates that Baku should ensure the safety of people who wish to depart Nagorno-Karabakh and that those who wish to stay must remain “free from the use of force or intimidation that may cause them to flee” correspondents to the position of Paris. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry called the statements by the French ministry “irrelevant and unacceptable.” “France’s disregard for the rejection by the Court of most of the unlawful requests by Armenia is another vivid example of double-standards and bias against Azerbaijan,” the Azerbaijani ministry said, as quoted by Azerbaijan’s APA news agency. “It is lamentable that this country, which has presented itself as the greatest advocate of justice and order, misinterprets and meddles into the Court’s affairs on a matter that has nothing to do with France,” it added. Citing France’s “biased position” against Azerbaijan, in early October Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev refused to attend a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian that was to be mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and European Council President Charles Michel. Azerbaijan has also condemned France for its arms supplies to Armenia based on cooperation agreements signed by the two countries’ defense ministries in October. The latest diplomatic spat between Azerbaijan and France comes amid Baku’s refusal to engage in negotiations with Yerevan in the United States, the other Western country that has spearheaded international efforts to find a negotiated solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since the early 1990s. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said the decision was in response to what it called “one-sided and biased remarks” against Azerbaijan made by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien during a November 15 congressional hearing on “the future of Nagorno-Karabakh.” In its statement issued on Saturday the Azerbaijan ministry said that the Washington platform is “no longer acceptable for Baku in negotiations with Yerevan.” At the same time, Baku said that the Brussels format where it is the European Union that acts as a mediator remained acceptable for continued negotiations. “Besides, Azerbaijan prefers direct negotiations with Armenia,” the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry said. Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL Copyright (c) 2023 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.