Azerbaijan’s Military Advance Into Armenia’s Sovereign Territory is Unacceptable, She Said
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who earlier had urged Baku to end the Artsakh blockade, on Friday said that the checkpoint installed by Azerbaijan on the Lachin Corridor contradicts the November 9, 2020 agreement. She also said Azerbaijani military advance into the sovereign territory of Armenia is unacceptable.
Colonna, who is in Yerevan, met with Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan on Friday and also visited Jermuk, which was hit hard during Azerbaijan’s breach of Armenia’s sovereign borders in September.
“If Azerbaijan is concerned about the transparency of flows, there are several other methods to approach this issue, rather than taking unilateral steps. Fair and sustainable peace means peace that respects and protects human rights,” Colonna said during a joint press conference with Mirzoyan on Friday.
“We will continue to call for the restoration of unimpeded movement along the Lachin Corridor according to the obligations assumed by the sides, as well as the ruling of the International Court of Justice,” said Colonna.
“The [Artsakh] blockade has been going on for already several months. This is not acceptable. This does not comply with commitments to international law and creates risks for a humanitarian crisis for the population of Nagorno Karabakh,” Colonna added.
She said France wants “humanitarian steps to contribute to the formation of an atmosphere conducive to negotiations,” be it the issues of prisoners of war or those missing, or other difficult issues. Colonna called for negotiations around the security and rights of the population of Nagorno Karabakh.
“The population of Nagorno Karabakh must be able to continue to live in peace and security, with respect to its culture and traditions,” said Colonna.
Saying that the main issues discussed with her Armenian counterpart were the peace talks with Azerbaijan, Colonna emphasized that respect for territorial integrity is important.
She reiterated France’s long-running position that the Azerbaijani military advance into the sovereign territory of Armenia is unacceptable.
“Respect for territorial integrity means refraining from any kind of use of force. I’ve said this in Baku as well,” Colonna said. “International law must be respected, therefore we can’t accept the unilateral steps made by Azerbaijan.”
“France expresses its full support to the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. France is not alone in this, France does this with the EU and the United States, naturally by maintaining contact with the OSCE and the UN, which can have a useful role in this process,” explained the French foreign minister.
“We all know that the path to peace is difficult and often long. I am saying this in Yerevan, like I said in Baku, this is the only path that will allow the achieving of fair and sustainable peace, create new prospects for the future of the two countries. We encourage everyone to join that path,” said Colonna.
“Fair and sustainable peace means peace which is based on respect for international law. In Prague, the President of France and the President of the European Council made efforts in order for Armenia and Azerbaijan to make an important step and reiterate their commitment to the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration, by which they mutually recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We believe that is important to strengthen this achievement, perhaps by carrying out the delimitation works as a priority,” she added.