Ex-Soviet state won’t talk to EU without Türkiye – media
Azerbaijan will not attend EU-hosted negotiations with Armenia that were due to take place in the Spanish city of Granada on Thursday, the nation’s APA news agency has reported. The five-way talks were set to be held on the sidelines of a European Political Community meeting, and were due to include French, German, and EU representatives.
Baku cited the “anti-Azerbaijani atmosphere” that it claimed would mar the talks due to the absence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish leader was allegedly barred from the discussions, with France and Germany in particular opposing his involvement, APA reported on Wednesday.
Citing sources, Bloomberg reported on the same day that Erdogan had scrapped his planned trip to the European Political Community meeting because of a busy schedule. The office of the Turkish president did not comment on the issue.
“The reason is a destructive position of France as well as Paris’ and Berlin’s opposition to Türkiye’s participation,” a diplomatic source told Azerbaijani media. “The Azerbaijani side has refused to take part in the talks under such circumstances.”
According to APA, Azerbaijan particularly took issue with France’s role in the negotiations. Paris has taken a clearly pro-Armenian stance, the agency said, citing recent statements by the French defense and foreign ministers as well as France’s decision to supply weapons to Yerevan.
On Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said during a visit to Yerevan that France had “agreed to forge future contracts with Armenia for the delivery of military equipment to enable Armenia to defend itself.”
The minister added that there are “[other] things that we can do with Armenia,” but provided no further details.
Last weekend, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu told Franceinfo that a newly created defense mission at the French Embassy in Yerevan would engage in daily activities with the Armenian armed forces to “assess their needs, particularly in terms of defense and protection.”
The talks in Granada were due to take place after Azerbaijan took control over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, sparking a mass exodus of the local ethnic Armenian population. The region broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s, provoking a territorial dispute that lasted for decades and saw Armenia support Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 2020, Azerbaijan won back a significant portion of Nagorno-Karabakh in month-long fighting that ended with a Moscow-brokered truce that saw Russian peacekeepers deployed to the region. Since then, the government of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has repeatedly reaffirmed Baku’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh, only to blame Russia for its eventual loss and make overtures to NATO.