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Azerbaijan Warns France's Rearming of Armenia Could Escalate South Caucasus Tensions

South Caucasus
Azerbaijan Warns France's Rearming of Armenia

Azerbaijan issues a stark warning as France supplies Armenia with military equipment, raising tensions in the South Caucasus. Read about the geopolitical implications and ongoing negotiations in the region.

Azerbaijan has issued a stern warning to France following a new arms deal with Armenia, asserting that such actions could lead to renewed conflict in the South Caucasus region. Tensions between Azerbaijan and France have intensified over the sale of CAESAR self-propelled howitzers to Armenia, amidst ongoing disputes over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Background and Context

The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh dates back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Armenian separatists occupying the region. Azerbaijan considers this occupation illegal and has sought international support to reclaim its territories.

France’s recent agreement to supply lethal military equipment to Armenia, including artillery installations, has exacerbated longstanding tensions between Baku and Paris. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry criticized France for ignoring Azerbaijani objections and accused the French leadership of provocative actions in the region.

Azerbaijan’s Accusations

In a strongly worded statement, Azerbaijan condemned France’s arms sales as hypocritical, emphasizing that such actions undermine efforts towards peace and stability in the South Caucasus. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused President Emmanuel Macron’s government of pursuing militarization and geopolitical strategies that hinder the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Path to Escalation

Azerbaijan warned that rearming Armenia, which it views as a country with a history of military aggression and occupation against Azerbaijan, could pave the way for a new conflict. The statement labeled France’s actions as politically irresponsible and warned of dire consequences if tensions escalate further.

Regional Dynamics and Peace Efforts

Despite the recent military confrontations and heightened rhetoric, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been engaged in peace negotiations to establish a lasting settlement for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan has reclaimed significant portions of the region through military operations in 2020 and 2023, aiming to end Nagorno-Karabakh’s de facto independence from Baku.

The situation remains tense as both Azerbaijan and Armenia navigate delicate negotiations and border demarcations. Azerbaijan’s firm stance against French arms sales to Armenia underscores the complexities and sensitivities of regional geopolitics in the South Caucasus.