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Azerbaijan Cancels Armenia Talks, Rejects French Involvement

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

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said he did not want France to participate in peace talks with Armenia, after a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels on December 7. Canceled the four-way talks.

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

Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan intensified in September in a decades-long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Armenia said Azerbaijan had seized settlements within its borders.

A ceasefire was agreed at the end of September, and the two countries agreed to allow it last month in Prague. European Union Civilian Mission installed on their borders.

But Aliyev on Friday accused Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of trying to undermine the next phase of negotiations by claiming France must be a middleman.

“Macron… attacked Azerbaijan and accused us of what we didn’t do,” Aliyev said in English at a meeting with international delegates in Baku.

He said the French leader had adopted an “anti-Azerbaijan stance” and was “insulting” Baku.

“Under these circumstances, it is clear that France cannot participate in the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia with this attitude.”

“Prague Form”

Armenia’s foreign ministry said it wanted to maintain “Prague-style” talks involving Macron and Michel.

A spokesman said Azerbaijan’s claims that Yerevan was trying to sabotage peace talks “have nothing to do with reality,” Interfax news agency reported.

President Macron accused Russia of fueling tensions between Baku and Yerevan and confirmed his support for Armenian sovereignty in a phone call with Pashinyan.

Armenia also said on Friday that Azerbaijan has yet to respond to the latest proposal for a peace deal. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Early November in Washington DC.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Moscow has sent 5,000 peacekeepers to the region to manage a ceasefire after a six-week war in 2020, but will not broker a further deal. He said he was ready to help but had no concrete plans for leaders to meet in Moscow.

Russia, a formal ally of Armenia, has also sought to maintain good relations with Baku, sending troops to aid Yerevan under a mutual defense pact after fighting erupted in September. I resisted calls to do so.

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