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Russia Says France ‘Trying to Rehabilitate Its Battered Reputation’ in South Caucasus

France is trying to rehabilitate its “pretty battered” political reputation in the South Caucasus, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Zakharova said Moscow understands why Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called deliveries of French armored vehicles Bastion to Armenia “an attempt to push Armenia to a new war.”

“I think both Baku and a number of other places are tired of the obsession of Paris, which is unsuccessfully trying to rehabilitate its political reputation, which is pretty battered in other parts of the world and on other continents, in the South Caucasus,” she said.

According to Zakharova, the goals of Western mediators, including France, are far from peaceful.

“They seek to turn the South Caucasus into another arena of geopolitical confrontation, ignore the fundamental interests of the countries of the region and do nothing to ensure the security, stability and prosperity of this region,” she emphasized.

France agreed on future contracts with Armenia to supply it with military equipment, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said last month during a visit to Yerevan.

Aliyev on Tuesday accused Paris of creating conditions for a new war in the region by supplying arms to Armenia.

Turning to Armenia’s decision to refrain from attending the Nov. 22-23 meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Minsk, Belarus, Zakharova said the move contradicts interests of the Armenian people.

The spokeswoman disagreed with CSTO criticism by Armenian authorities, who blame the bloc for not interfering in the situation in Karabakh, saying “this is just an attempt to shift responsibility, to find guilty of their own miscalculations.”

“It is clear that the republic (Armenia) is radically changing its foreign policy … apparently from the suggestion of the West. On the other hand, they try to disguise it in every possible way, believing that this way it is possible to maintain the previous level of assistance and special relationships,” she said.

Azerbaijan established constitutional order in Karabakh after an anti-terror operation on Sept. 20.

Russia regrets South Korea’s decision to partly suspend agreement with North Korea

The spokeswoman criticized South Korea’s decision to partly suspend the 2018 agreement on prevention of armed incidents with North Korea over Pyongyang’s launch of a satellite, which “was announced well in advance.”

“This may turn into a full-fledged conflict. … Such steps by the South Korean side are regrettable. The escalating tensions around the peninsula are a direct consequence of the aggressive military activity of the US and its allies, who conduct military exercises almost non-stop and pump up this subregion with weapons,” she said.

Zakharova called “groundless” accusations of “illegal military cooperation” with North Korea, stressing that Russia responsibly fulfills its international obligations, but this does not hinder or contradict the development of relations with its neighbors.

Source: AA