June 8, 2023
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French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced on Wednesday that she planned to visit “during April” the capitals of Azerbaijan and Armenia, two former Soviet republics in conflict since the breakup of the USSR.

“I plan to travel to Baku and Yerevan during April, (…) to recall the need for a political solution, the need for the ceasefire to which both parties are committed and to emphasize that the threats of employment of force are unacceptable” declared Catherine Colonna before the senators.

This will be his first official visit to these two countries.

Since December 12, a vital road linking Armenia to Nagorny Karabakh has been blocked by Azerbaijani activists who say they are protesting against illegal mines in the region.

Mountainous region mainly populated by Armenians and having seceded from Azerbaijan at the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nagorny Karabakh continues to poison relations between Yerevan and Baku.

According to the Minister, the blocking of the main road, called the Lachin Corridor, “fuels tensions and dims the prospects for a political settlement which is the only one possible, including a peace agreement”.

“This situation cannot last any longer, freedom of movement must be restored without delay and the supply of the populations of Nagorno-Karabakh must be better ensured”, added Catherine Colonna.

Armenia declared last week that it wanted to resort to the UN to prevent a “genocide” of the Armenians of the enclave of Nagorny Karabakh.

In January, the President of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet accompanied by a delegation of deputies, went to Armenia to mark her “unwavering support” for the country in the face of tensions with Azerbaijan.

A first war between the two countries in the early 1990s left 30,000 dead.

They clashed again in the fall of 2020 for control of the independence region of Nagorny Karabakh. The conflict resulted in more than 6,000 deaths and a severe defeat for Yerevan, which had to cede important territories to Baku.

But despite the presence of Russian peacekeepers, clashes in Karabakh and on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border remain frequent and threaten to derail the fragile truce reached after the 2020 war.

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