France to send a military delegation to Armenia
A day after French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Paris, France announced on Wednesday it would send a military delegation to Armenia, Civil.net reported.
“I discussed with my Armenian counterpart Souren Papikian on the situation on the border with Azerbaijan: hostilities must cease, Azerbaijani forces must return to their initial position,” French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu said in a post on Twitter, where he announced the news of the delegation.
Papikyan, who was also in Paris alongside Pashinyan, had met with Sebastien Lecornu and presented to his French counterpart the situation in Armenia.
Lecornu, in turn, reaffirmed France's official position that Azerbaijani troops should be withdrawn from the territory of Armenia, News.am reported.
The large Armenian diaspora in France weighs political pressure on the Macron government which found itself in a complicated position in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict as Paris is also part of an agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan for closer energy cooperation.
The deal, signed on 19 July, aims at "doubling the capacity" of the Southern Gas Corridor that starts in Azerbaijan, then follows a path through Georgia and Turkey into Greece and the rest of the EU, avoiding Armenia. It provides for the delivery of "at least 20 billion cubic meters to the EU annually by 2027".
Sixty French lawmakers wrote an open letter in daily newspaper Le Monde, arguing that the deal would provide gas revenues for Azerbaijan which, they say, is "desperately seeking to finance arms being used to exterminate Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and in the Republic of Armenia.