France “needs” more international and European support for the preservation of Armenia’s territorial integrity and the protection of the displaced populations of Nagorno-Karabakh, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday (September 26).
“France will take initiatives in the coming days […] whether nationally, bilaterally with Armenia, at the United Nations as a permanent member of the Security Council or within the Union European Union,” announced French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on Tuesday (26 September).
She was questioned by deputies in the National Assembly, during the question session to the government, on the fate of Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh after the launch of a military operation by Azerbaijan.
The Azeri military operation caused a massive departure of people, nearly 19,000, towards Armenia. “Russia’s abandonment of Armenia and Russia’s complicity with the military operations undertaken by Azerbaijan make international diplomatic action even more necessary,” said the minister.
In 2020, Russia supported a ceasefire agreement which allowed a return of calm. Since then, it has deployed “peacekeepers”, who visibly let Azerbaijan do its thing in its offensive against the Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Many elected officials, particularly French ones, had already denounced, at the end of last week, the weakness of Josep Borrel’s response on behalf of the European Union, expressing emotion at France’s isolation on this issue. Around sixty MEPs from several countries and several groups have also asked the head of European diplomacy to take sanctions against the Azeri regime.
Earlier in the day, when asked about the European position, the spokesperson for the Quai d’Orsay considered it “clear”, indicating that “consultations are continuing with our European partners”.
Without being able to state it so explicitly, the French minister nevertheless recalled that “no country helps Armenia more than [France]”.
She also suggested that France expected greater commitment from the European Union and the international community on this conflict: “Alongside France, I hope that we have Europe: even more so, 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,” she declared.
Addressing the deputies, the minister thanked them “for encouraging French diplomacy to [support Armenia] even more, not alone, but with others”.
The head of French diplomacy also announced that France would strengthen its defense cooperation with Armenia, that French humanitarian aid to the country would increase from 5 to 12 million euros and that a consular office would be opened in the region. Syunik border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
This article is originally published on euractiv.fr