Azerbaijan leader says France cannot participate in peace talks with Armenia after ‘insulting’ Baku.

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev has said his country does not want France to participate in its peace talks with Armenia.

Aliyev said on Friday that Macron had “attacked” and “insulted” Baku and should not act as an intermediary.

Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up in September over their decades-old dispute over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh – internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but largely controlled by ethnic Armenians, with support from Yerevan.

Each side accused the other of provoking the latest fighting, in which Armenia said Azerbaijan had seized settlements within its borders.

A ceasefire was agreed at the end of September and last month in Prague the two countries agreed to allow it a civilian mission of the European Union set up at their border.

But during a speech on Friday, Aliyev accused Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of undermining the next phase of the talks by insisting that France must be an intermediary.

“Macron… attacked Azerbaijan and accused us of what we did not do,” Aliyev said in English at a conference with international representatives in Baku.

He said the French leader had taken an “anti-Azerbaijani position” and “insulted” Baku.

“It is clear that under these circumstances, with this attitude, France cannot be part of the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia.”

‘Prague format’

The Armenian foreign ministry said it wanted to keep the “Prague format” of discussions involving Macron and Michel.

A spokesman said Azerbaijan’s claim that Yerevan was trying to disrupt peace talks “has nothing to do with reality,” the Interfax news agency reported.

Macron has accused Russia of fueling tensions between Baku and Yerevan, and has also reaffirmed his support for Armenia’s sovereignty in phone conversations with Pashinyan.

Armenia also said on Friday that Azerbaijan had not yet responded to its latest proposals for a peace deal, which it presented at a meeting between their foreign ministers in early November in Washington, DC.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Moscow — which has sent 5,000 peacekeepers to the region in 2020 to manage a ceasefire after a six-week war — was ready to help broker further agreements, but that there was no concrete plan for the leaders to meet. in Moscow.

Russia is a formal ally of Armenia but also seeks to maintain good relations with Baku, resisting calls to deploy troops to help Yerevan under a mutual defense pact following the outbreak of fighting in September.

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