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As Armenia's ties strain with Turkey, France pushes EU to stand with Yerevan

France has positioned itself strictly on Armenia’s side on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, but can it avoid generating another crisis with Turkey?
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan shake hands at the end of a joint press conference following their talks in Yerevan on October 3, 2023. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP) (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — Against the backdrop of the mass exodus of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, the French government is taking a leading role in supporting Armenia and calling to protect its sovereignty, pushing the European Union to adopt similar positions. 

France has been an ally of Armenia since its independence in 1991 and recognized the Armenian genocide in 2001. Still, while trying to support Armenia in this conflict, it must also take into account the vast commercial relations between the EU and Azerbaijan, which is one of its gas suppliers, and its already complicated relations with Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan. 

In Spain for the third European Political Community summit taking place on Thursday and Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron, together with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Council president Charles Michel, met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The European leaders expressed their support of Armenia’s independence and sovereignty and called to reinforce relations between the European Union and Armenia. 

While invited, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev decided not to join. 

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