France’s Foreign Ministry said statements by the leader of Azerbaijan targeting French presidential candidate Valerie Pecresse were “unacceptable.”
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made the remarks in the country’s parliament of Tuesday.
During a visit to Armenia in December, Pecresse, a member of the center-right Republican party, visited Artsakh and met with the country’s president, foreign minister and other officials. She tweeted about the trip after leaving Armenia.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev reacted to Pecresse’s visit by saying had he been informed about it, she would not be allowed to leave.
Le Drian said that Aliyev’s statements directed at an elected official and presidential candidate in France, they were unacceptable. Precresse is the the President of the Ile-de-France Regional Council.
The French foreign minister also urged members of parliament to inform his office prior to making about their trips abroad.
Le Drian’s remarks came as pressure mounted on French President Emanuel Macron administration to publicly address Aliyev’s remarks, which can be construed as a threat.
The Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF) issued a statement regarding Aliyev’s threats against Pecresse, Armenpress reported.
The CCAF called on the French authorities to demand an explanation and apology from Azerbaijan for making such terrorizing statements against a French presidential candidate, and added that the French government should recall its ambassador from Baku and expel the Azerbaijani ambassador from Paris if this explanation and apology are not issued by the Azerbaijani authorities.
Talking to the news media, Pecresse herself stressed the seriousness of making such threats against a presidential candidate, and noted that presidential candidates must be free to go wherever they want.
Pecresse said she does not feel intimidated by these threats, but that she is shocked by the French government’s silence regarding these threats.
The French politician said she would want the French government to officially respond to such threats voiced by the president of a foreign country to a French presidential candidate
An open letter by the leader of the Republican faction in the French Senate, Bruno Retailleau and others, signed by 242 other prominent French political leaders urged Macron to demand an apology from Aliyev. The letter was published in Le Journal du Dimanche weekly publication.
Speaking to Europe One Radio, Precresse stressed that the issue of Christians of the East was at the core of her commitment and protecting Armenia in that sense was very important.