The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has strongly rejected recent remarks by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian (Stephane Sejourne holds the position of Secretary of State for European Affairs). In a statement released on April 2nd, MFA Press Secretary Aykhan Hajizade criticized Le Drian’s comments made during a joint press conference with the US Secretary of State in Paris.

The statement characterizes Le Drian’s claims against Azerbaijan as “baseless” and accuses France of attempting to “create tension in the region and hinder the peace process.” It takes particular issue with Le Drian’s portrayal of Armenia as a peaceful nation. The MFA contends that this portrayal ignores Armenia’s nearly 30-year occupation of Azerbaijani territory, the displacement of nearly one million Azerbaijanis, and documented war crimes committed by Armenia.

The MFA further criticizes France for its role in “widely arming Armenia and promoting militarism in the region,” arguing that this behaviour undermines France’s position to accuse Azerbaijan of “aggressive rhetoric.” The statement emphasizes Azerbaijan’s current role as host of the 29th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29), suggesting that France’s comments are counterproductive and damage Azerbaijan’s international image.

The statement concludes by urging France to re-evaluate its policy towards the region. It argues that France’s past support for Armenia has not been beneficial and that continued “destructive activities” will further tarnish France’s image and hinder Armenia’s interests as well.