Moscow has slammed as “unacceptable” a comment by French President Emmanuel Macron that Moscow was “destabilizing” the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on October 13 that Macron’s statement that Russia is using the conflict over Azerbaijan’s mostly Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh to destabilize the South Caucasus was “outrageous, absolutely unacceptable.”
Macron, in an interview with the France 2 television channel, accused Moscow of deliberately provoking recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan as part of an effort to destabilize the volatile region.
Macron hosted a meeting last week with European Council President Charles Michel in Prague, bringing Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev together with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
The European Council said at the time that Aliyev and Pashinian agreed to a civilian European Union mission along their common border, where clashes last month killed more than 200 people in the worst flare-up of fighting between the two neighbors since November 2020.
The civilian EU mission will start later this month and will last for a maximum of two months, the statement said, adding that the next meeting of a border delimitation commission will take place in Brussels by the end of the month.
Zakharova accused the EU of interfering in Moscow’s “leading role” in the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization was prepared to send its own mission to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border after the group’s security council approves it.
Lavrov made the comment on October 12 at talks with his Armenian counterpart, Ararat Mirzoian, in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
Baku and Yerevan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for years. Armenian-backed separatists seized the mainly Armenian-populated region from Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.
The two sides fought another war in 2020 that lasted six weeks before a Russian-brokered cease-fire, resulting in Armenia losing control of parts of the region, which is part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent districts.
Under the cease-fire Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.
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