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Azerbaijan Expels Two French Diplomats Amid Escalating Tensions with France

Updated: Jan 8

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Tensions flared between Azerbaijan and France as Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of two French diplomats on Tuesday, citing actions deemed "incompatible with their diplomatic status." The move escalated the strained relationship between the two countries, raising questions about the exact cause behind the abrupt decision.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry summoned French Ambassador Anne Boillon to express "strong protest over the actions of two employees of the French Embassy." These actions were deemed unacceptable by Azerbaijan within the scope of their diplomatic roles. Consequently, the two diplomats were given a 48-hour notice to depart the country. However, the specific reasons triggering their expulsion were not disclosed in the official statement released by the Azeri ministry.

This development comes against the backdrop of ongoing tensions between Azerbaijan and France, particularly concerning their roles in mediating discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The tensions have deepened amid the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from the indigenous homeland of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

Azerbaijan's forcible displacement of indigenous Armenians from Artsakh and its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh have been central issues in the ongoing discord between the two nations. The conflict, spanning multiple wars over recent decades, has escalated, with Azerbaijan's military action in September against Armenian forces, resulting in widespread displacement and occupation.

France's vocal support for Armenia during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been a point of contention for Azerbaijan. Paris condemned Azerbaijan's military offensive and initiated emergency sessions at the UN Security Council to address the crisis in Artsakh. Moreover, France pledged military assistance to Armenia, citing concerns over Azerbaijan's territorial threats.

In response to France's support for Armenia, Baku has criticized these actions, alleging that such support bolsters Armenia's military capabilities and enables destructive operations in the region. Azerbaijan has been vocal about its opposition to what it perceives as a biased stance taken by France in the conflict.

The strained relationship between the two nations has led to cancellations of diplomatic meetings, with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev objecting to French President Emmanuel Macron's participation in discussions involving Armenia. Aliyev has accused France of exacerbating tensions and supporting "Armenian separatism" in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The expulsion of the French diplomats adds another layer to the already tense relations between Azerbaijan and France, further complicating efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the longstanding conflicts in the region. As of now, there has been no immediate response or clarification from French authorities regarding the expulsion. 


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