Azerbaijan on Wednesday summoned the French ambassador to protest a visit by the separatist Armenian leader of the Nagorny Karabakh region, the Caucasus republic's foreign ministry said.
"France's ambassador to Baku, Pascal Monnier, has been summoned to Azerbaijan's foreign ministry and handed a note of protest over the separatist leader's visit to France on May 17-19," Azerbaijan's foreign ministry spokesman, Hikmet Hajiyev, told AFP.
Bako Sahakian's visit "harms the spirit of friendly Azerbaijani-French relations and contradicts France's mandate as a co-mediator to Karabakh peace talks", he added.
Along with the United States and Russia, Paris co-chairs the Minsk Group of mediators in Baku's peace talks with Armenia over their decades-long dispute for control of Nagorny Karabakh.
The two Caucasus countries have been locked in conflict since a bloody war in the early 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Yerevan-backed ethnic Armenian separatists seized control of Karabakh during the conflict that left some 30,000 dead.
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