Paris considers unacceptable Azerbaijan's statements targeting French presidential hopeful Valérie Pécresse after her trip to Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers on Tuesday, January 18.
Pécresse visited Armenia in late December and made a trip to Karabakh, accompanied by former European Commissioner and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier. According to Pécresse, she visited the region because she is concerned about the fate of Christians in the Middle East.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry handed a note to the Chargé d'Affaires of France in Baku, describing the trip as illegal. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claimed, meanwhile, that Pécresse entered Karabakh "in secret" and that the Azerbaijani authorities would not allow her to leave if they knew about the visit.
Le Drian on Tuesday weighed in on the matter, describing Azerbaijan's reaction as unacceptable, but adding that he expects parliamentarians and officials to notify the French authorities in advance about their trips.
"President Aliyev's words refer to an elected official and presidential candidate of France, they are unacceptable in form and substance. I have informed the Azerbaijani ambassador to France about this," he said.