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France's Macron Seeks Stronger Pressure On Azerbaijan


France - President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech in front of French ambassadors at the Elysee Palace, Paris, August 28, 2023.
France - President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech in front of French ambassadors at the Elysee Palace, Paris, August 28, 2023.

France will try to drum up stronger international pressure on Azerbaijan to end its continuing blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.

"I will have an opportunity to speak this week with [Armenian] Prime Minister Pashinian and with [Azerbaijani] President Ilham Aliyev,” Macron told French ambassadors to countries around the world.

“We will demand full respect for the Lachin humanitarian corridor and we will again take a diplomatic initiative in this direction internationally to increase the pressure,” he said in remarks cited by French media.

Macron gave no details of that initiative. France’s Le Figaro daily reported last week that Paris is “preparing to submit” to the UN Security Council a draft resolution designed to help Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population left “on the verge of starvation.”

The Security Council discussed the worsening humanitarian crisis in Karabakh during an August 16 meeting initiated by Armenia. Although most of its members, including the United States, urged the lifting of the Azerbaijani blockade, the council did not adopt a relevant resolution or statement.

The U.S., the European Union and Russia have repeatedly called for renewed commercial and humanitarian traffic through the sole road connecting Karabakh to Armenia. Azerbaijan has dismissed their appeals.

Baku was quick to denounce Macron’s latest remarks, saying that his “language of pressure” is unacceptable. An Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also objected to the French leader’s use of the term “Lachin humanitarian corridor.” He said it violates Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

France, which is home to a sizable Armenian community, has been the most vocal international critic of the eight-month Azerbaijani blockade. Baku has repeatedly accused Macron and other French officials of siding with Armenia in the Karabakh conflict.

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