Azerbaijan refuses Armenia peace talks after Türkiye not included

Azerbaijan refuses Armenia peace talks after Türkiye not included

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev cancels a peace meeting with Armenia’s Pashinyan, mediated by Europe, after his proposal to invite Baku’s ally Türkiye to the talks was rejected, media reports say

An anticipated meeting between Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was shelved after Aliyev decided not to join, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah. The two leaders were scheduled to meet in Spain for peace talks after a 2020 war over Karabakh. Yet, tensions between the two countries rose again after Baku launched an offensive against Armenian separatists in its territory Karabakh in September.

Baku was already angered over France’s support for Armenia and what it called the biased stance of Paris despite its role as a mediator. France would have been among the participants of the meeting, along with Germany and Azerbaijan. Baku also proposed that Türkiye join the talks. When other parties rejected the idea, Aliyev decided to skip the meeting, Azerbaijani diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday.

Earlier, Turkish media outlets reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would not participate in the meeting.

A five-way meeting would focus on peace between two old foes, in conflict since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. France, home to a large Armenian diaspora, is among the major backers of Yerevan and offered military aid to Armenia earlier this week, to the chagrin of Baku, which wrestled back its territory Karabakh from the country after a brief war three years ago. Azerbaijan also complained that France was not neutral while trying to mediate the conflict after French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna accused Azerbaijan of a “blockade” and “forced displacement” of Armenians in Karabakh.

Azerbaijan on Tuesday criticized French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna’s remarks against Baku during her visit to Armenia. “Repetition by (Catherine Colonna) of fake ‘blockade’ and ‘forced displacement’ narratives in her meetings in Armenia doesn’t serve peace,” Aykhan Hajizada, spokesperson for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, wrote on X. “Her statements on ‘France always standing by Armenia’s side’ finally removed all masks off French claims to being an honest broker & neutral mediator,” Hajizada added.

During her contacts in the Armenian capital Yerevan, Colonna blamed Azerbaijan for the recent developments in Karabakh.

In the fall of 2020, with Türkiye lending its support, in 44 days of clashes Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements in Karabakh from illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended with a Russia-brokered cease-fire.

Then, earlier this month, in the wake of provocations by Armenian forces in Karabakh, Azerbaijan said it had launched “counterterrorism” activities to uphold the trilateral peace pact. After 24 hours, a cease-fire was reached, with Azerbaijan widely seen as the victor.