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French parliament calls for government to consider sanctions against Azerbaijan

1 December 2022
France's National Assembly. Photo: National Assembly

The French National Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the government to consider imposing sanctions on unnamed Azerbaijanis ‘should the attacks and occupation of the sovereign territory of Armenia continue’.

The resolution echoes a stronger statement passed by the French Senate two weeks ago, which also called for the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, unlike the Senate’s motion, the National Assembly’s Wednesday resolution is legally binding.

The National Assembly, the lower, and more influential house of the French Parliament, also demanded the unconditional release of Armenian prisoners of war by Azerbaijan.

The resolution called on the French Government to explore the possibility of contributing to an international peacekeeping force in coordination with the United Nations to ‘ensure the end of hostilities in the South Caucasus’.

The resolution condemned ‘in the strongest terms, the military aggression of Azerbaijan on 13–14 September against the southern and southeastern regions of the territory of the Republic of Armenia, in violation of its sovereignty’, while demanding that Azerbaijani forces withdraw from positions they captured inside Armenia.

It also called for the government to step up humanitarian aid to Armenia and to consider sending military aid.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the resolution shortly after, calling it ‘full of lies and slander’.

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The ministry accused France of trying to ‘undermine the process of normalisation of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia’.

The resolution was similarly criticised by Azerbaijan’s parliament, who passed a joint resolution labelling it ‘political hypocrisy’.

The exchange represents the latest in a sharp deterioration of French–Azerbaijani relations, as France has grown increasingly critical of the Azerbaijani authorities.

On  21 November, the 30th anniversary of the ruling New Azerbaijan party, President Ilham Aliyev criticised France for its support of Armenia, accusing it of bias in the peace negotiations.

He later announced that Azerbaijan would refuse to take part in talks with Armenia if French President Emmanuel Macron was party to them, torpedoing a planned meeting with Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan scheduled to take place in Brussels.

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