The right-wing candidate for the presidential election Valérie Pécresse denounced Friday from Athens, where she is traveling, “threats” from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev after his trip to Armenia, saying that they do not “do not intimidate”.
Ms. Pécresse denounced to the press the “seriousness of this threat to a presidential candidate who would not be free to go where she wants” and judged “the deafening silence from the very shocking French government”. “These threats do not intimidate me and I would have liked a solemn response from the French government to this threat from a foreign head of state on a French presidential candidate,” she said.
The Republicans candidate went to Armenia before Christmas, shortly after the passage of the far-right candidate Eric Zemmour, for a visit intended to illustrate his support for the Christians of the East in this Caucasus countries. She was notably accompanied by the former European Commissioner and former French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, one of her campaign advisers.
In an interview with local media on Wednesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev criticized Ms. Pécresse and Mr. Barnier for having gone “secretly” on this occasion to the separatist region of Nagorny- Karabakh, at the center of a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan which has left more than 6.500 dead.
“In the event of illegal visits (to Karabakh ) we officially express our dissatisfaction with the Russian side”, which is in charge of peacekeeping operations in the region. “We were told + we didn’t see anything, we didn’t know, we didn’t pay attention (…) +. But we can’t believe (this version of the facts). (…) In this case, it was an organized visit”, he declared.
“If we had known that they were there, it is obvious that we wouldn’t let them come back (to Armenia). The Lachin corridor (road connecting Armenia and Karabakh) is under our control. We can stop any car there and no one can tell us anything,” added M. Aliev.
Ms. Pécresse began a trip to Greece on Friday, where she is to visit a closed camp for migrants and asylum seekers on the island of Samos on Saturday.