By Vugar Khalilov
Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has said that some French MPs' illegal visit to Azerbaijani territories in Karabakh undermines the existing post-conflict peacebuilding efforts in the region, the Foreign Ministry has reported.
Bayramov made the remarks at the meeting with a delegation led by Director for the Continental Europe of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Frederic Mondoloni in Baku.
The two men also focused on the current regional situation, the implementation of trilateral statements signed by Azerbaijan, Russia, and Armenia in 2020 and 2021 and cooperation with international organizations.
The sides stressed the existing potential for the development of cooperation and exchanged views on the Azerbaijan-France bilateral cooperation agenda.
Earlier, Baku condemned the visit by French officials to the city of Khankandi in Azerbaijan's Karabakh region.
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva said that this is not the first illegal visit by France's National Assembly member Francois Pupponi to Khankandi.
"He is known for his strong anti-Azerbaijani position. The French deputy's name is included in the list of foreign nationals banned from entering our country, for violating Azerbaijani legislation," Abdullayeva stated.
Moreover, she emphasized that a ban on entry to Azerbaijan will be also imposed on the mayor of France's Arnouville city and a representative of the Sarcelles district, who accompanied Pupponi during the illegal visit.
During the last year's 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, French President Emmanuel Macron and some French circles failed to demonstrate a neutral position, despite the fact that France is a co-chair in the OSCE Minsk Group mediating talks between Baku and Yerevan.
In contradiction to the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, only the interests of Armenia were protected and an inadequate position, which did not meet the requirements of a balanced and fair co-chairmanship, was displayed. This stance was several times criticized by Azerbaijani senior officials.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10, 2020, brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions and withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city.
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