President Emanuel Macron and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Paris on September 26, 2022

France Demands that Azerbaijani Forces Retreat as Pashinyan, Macron meet in Paris

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PARIS (Public Radio of Armenia) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and French President Emmanuel Macron met on September 26 at the Élysée Palace. After the welcoming ceremony, before starting the meeting, the leaders of the two countries made statements for media representatives.

In his comments, Macron said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy to receive today the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Nikol Pashinyan. In recent days, we have talked many times on the phone, because Armenia is again suffering from the armed clashes of September 13 and 14, and the situation is really critical. Large-scale military operations took place on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, causing many casualties. The territory of Armenia was targeted, civil infrastructures were destroyed. In the face of this unacceptable situation, France has assumed its commitments.

“France, holding the presidency of the UN Security Council, convened a meeting of the Security Council, where the situation was discussed twice, on September 14 and 15. The Council members demanded a speedy cessation of hostilities and respect for the ceasefire. Taking into account that there are occupied positions, France demanded that the Azerbaijani forces return to their initial positions. I told President [Ilham] Aliyev on September 14 that the fact that the border is not demarcated cannot justify any advance into the territory of the other country.

“In addition, I have clearly stated since September 13 that France is convinced that the use of force cannot be a solution for either Armenia or Azerbaijan and it is necessary to resume the dialogue immediately. All unresolved issues, which are numerous, should be resolved exclusively through negotiations. The negotiations are held in different formats, particularly under the auspices of the EU, and they should be resumed.

I do not forget that exactly two years ago, on September 27, 2020, a terrible war began, which became deadly for the region. It led to a de facto new situation with an expanded Russian military presence in the region. And I strongly condemn what happened in recent days and call for peace and resumption of negotiations. I would like to salute the courage of Prime Minister Pashinyan, who proposed a new approach for the future of the region.

President Aliyev, with whom I will talk in the next few hours, says that he also wants to end instability in the region and find solutions. But it is impossible to build peace under the threat of force. To that end, France will do everything, will pursue its goal, which is a stable, safe and prosperous South Caucasus.”

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For his part, Pashinyan thanked Macron for his warm welcome. “France holds the presidency of the UN Security Council, and also with the support of France and personally President Macron, the issue of Azerbaijan’s another aggression against Armenia was included in its agenda. An earnest discussion took place, and the issue remains on the agenda of the Security Council.

“As a result of the aggressions of May 12, 2021 and September 13, 2022, Azerbaijan has occupied the sovereign territories of the Republic of Armenia. I would like to emphasize that our position is unequivocal: the Azerbaijani armed forces must withdraw from the sovereign territory of Armenia, and I want to thank France, personally President Macron, for recording this position.”

He continued, “The administrative borders between Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan became state borders in the first months of independence of the two countries, since both Armenia and Azerbaijan signed and ratified the December 8, 1991 Agreement on Establishing Commonwealth of Independent States. Moreover, both countries are members of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) until now. I want to emphasize that it is an integral part of this agreement that the administrative borders, the existing borders basically become state borders and the countries that joined the agreement recognize these borders.

“This means that the actions of Azerbaijan cannot be assessed in any way other than deliberate aggression. As a result of the Azerbaijani occupation, the situation in our region remains tense. I think that sending an international observation mission to the regions affected by the Azerbaijani occupation and the border zone will help the international community to receive direct and not mediated information, and will also become an important factor in stabilizing the situation,” he said.

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