Azerbaijan summons French ambassador over Nagorno-Karabakh issue

Ambassador of the French Republic to Baku, Zacharie Gross has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan to protest against France's policy over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Iran PressAsia: Azerbaijan's foreign ministry summoned France's ambassador to the country on Thursday to protest against a vote by French lawmakers to recognize the region of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic.

"On November 26, 2020, French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zakari Gross was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the country's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"During the meeting, a note of protest from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan was represented to the Ambassador in connection with the adoption of the resolution of 'Necessity of recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic' by the French Senate on November 25 of this year.

"The firm protest of Azerbaijan on the resolution, which contradicts the norms and principles of international law, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions of 1993 were brought to the attention of the French ambassador," it added.

The resolution adopted by France's upper house on Wednesday is symbolic and not legally-binding, meaning Paris does not have to recognize the region as an independent country but is a strong show of support to the Armenian community in France.

The move elicited outrage in Azerbaijan, which has previously criticized France for taking a "pro-Armenian" stand in the dispute.

Several dozen people protested in front of the French embassy in the capital, Baku, on Thursday, chanting "France, be fair!". Azerbaijan's foreign ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday that the document can only be seen "as a provocation" and stressed that it "has no legal force".

The Armenian Foreign Ministry has however welcomed the move as "a crucial step towards recognition of right and self-determination".

Renewed clashes between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016, and this past July.

Azerbaijan's military on Thursday confirmed that 2,783 of its soldiers were killed over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and more than 100 other of its troops were still missing.

Armenia has not yet disclosed a final death toll for its military, but an ethnic Armenian official confirmed on November 14 that 2,317 soldiers had been killed.

Dozens of civilians from both sides also died during the conflict, which saw Azerbaijan and Armenia accused of using cluster munitions in civilian areas.

On 10 November, through the mediation of Russia, Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan agreed to end the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. 


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