France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told Azerbaijan’s leaders to lift the Lachin corridor during a visit to Baku on Thursday. She reiterated France’s position during a meeting later that day with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
During a joint press conference with her Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, Colonna stressed that Azerbaijan must comply with a ruling by the International Court of Justice, which in February ordered Baku to ensure “unimpeded” travel along the Lachin Corridor.
“France calls for the unblocking of the Lachin corridor. Rebuilding trust requires concrete actions,” Colonna tweeted after her visit to Azerbaijan.
Relations between Paris and Baku have been strained since President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan accused France of taking Armenia’s side in the ongoing conflict. During the press conference, Bayramov claimed that “over these past years, France has never appealed to Armenia.”
Colonna’s visit to Azerbaijan and Armenia to the prospects of peace between the two countries came days after Azerbaijan installed an illegal checkpoint at the Lachin Corridor. Bayramov claimed that it was within Azerbaijan’s right to establish the checkpoint on “its own territory,” and without substantiation accused Armenia of the illegal transport of arms and ammunition to Artsakh.
Colonna and Pashinyan met later on Thursday and they, according to a press statement from the prime minister’s office, emphasized the need for the immediate implementation of the decision of the International Court of Justice and the need for Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin Corridor.
“Unilateral actions by Azerbaijan, including the establishment of a checkpoint in the Lachin Corridor, which is a gross violation of the statement of November 9, 2020, were considered unacceptable,” Pashinyan’s office said.
Colonna and Pashinyan reportedly also discussed issues related to the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, highlighting the importance of security and stability in the region.
They also assessed “the effective” efforts of the European Union mission on the Armenia border.