Azerbaijan has declined to attend the EU-hosted negotiations with Armenia that were scheduled to take place in Granada, Spain. The talks were set to be held on the sidelines of a European Political Community meeting and were meant to include representatives from France, Germany, and the EU. According to the Azerbaijani news agency APA, Baku has cited an “anti-Azerbaijani atmosphere” that would overshadow the talks due to the absence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Paris and Berlin have reportedly opposed Baku’s proposal to invite Erdogan to the negotiations.
Sources have reported that Erdogan canceled his planned trip to the European Political Community meeting due to a busy schedule. However, the office of the Turkish president has not commented on the issue.
A diplomatic source revealed to Azerbaijani media that the reason for Azerbaijan’s refusal to participate in the talks is the “destructive position of France” and the opposition from Paris and Berlin to Turkey’s involvement. Azerbaijan specifically took issue with France’s role in the negotiations, as Paris has shown a pro-Armenian stance. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna recently announced that France had agreed to forge future contracts with Armenia for the delivery of military equipment to enable Armenia to defend itself.
The talks in Granada were set to take place after Azerbaijan gained control over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, leading to a mass exodus of the local ethnic Armenian population. Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s, has been the subject of a territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia for decades. In 2020, Azerbaijan reclaimed a significant portion of Nagorno-Karabakh in a month-long conflict brokered by Moscow, which resulted in the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to the region. Since then, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government has repeatedly acknowledged Baku’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh, but has also blamed Russia for its eventual loss and made overtures to NATO.
The tensions between Azerbaijan and France have escalated due to France’s decision to provide weapons to Armenia. Azerbaijan has expressed concern about Paris’ clear pro-Armenian stance and its statement to supply military equipment to Yerevan. The French Defense Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, announced the establishment of a defense mission at the French Embassy in Yerevan that would engage in daily activities with the Armenian armed forces to assess their needs in terms of defense and protection.
In light of these factors, Azerbaijan has refused to participate in the negotiations in Granada, questioning the impartiality of the talks and highlighting the opposition to Turkey’s involvement. The absence of key stakeholders has raised concerns about the effectiveness and fairness of the discussions and the potential impact on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The situation highlights the complex dynamics and challenges involved in finding a peaceful solution to the long-standing dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.