Azerbaijan says no to Armenian peace talks if Macron present

© Oliver Bunic, AFP

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said Friday he would not meet the prime minister of arch-foe Armenia as planned in Brussels next month because Yerevan demanded French leader Emmanuel Macron mediate.

Azerbaijan accuses France of backing Armenia in the two countries' decades-long conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Aliyev said he would not meet Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Brussels on December 7 because the Armenian leader demanded that Macron attend the talks.

Pashinyan "agreed to the meeting only on condition" that Macron take part, Aliyev told an international conference in Baku. "That means the meeting will not take place."

He accused Pashinyan of attempting to "scupper the peace talks."

Last month Macron and European Council President Charles Michel attended a meeting between Aliyev and Pashinyan in Prague.

On Friday, the Armenian foreign ministry said the meeting in Brussels should have the "same" format.

With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the EU and the United States have taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted Moscow was "continuing its work on facilitating" talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars -- in 2020 and in the 1990s -- over Azerbaijan's Armenian-populated region of Nagorno Karabakh.



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