Diplomatic Discord: France and Azerbaijan Declare Embassy Staff ‘Persona-non-grata’

Azerbaijan-France. Source: MMES Studio/shutterstock

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently announced that two employees from the Embassy of Azerbaijan in France have been declared “persona non grata” by France in response to a similar action taken by Azerbaijan against two employees from the French embassy in their country.

The official names of the affected individuals were not disclosed by either party.

The tension arose when Azerbaijan declared two French embassy staff members as “persona non grata,” citing their alleged actions conflicting with diplomatic norms outlined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. France reciprocated this action, asserting its rejection of Azerbaijan’s reasoning behind their decision.

This diplomatic discord also appears to have spilled into local relationships between cities. The Ismayilli District Executive Authority highlighted the annulment of a Friendship and Cooperation Charter between Ismailli and Evian-Le Ba in France, expressing disappointment at the politicization of a non-political concept. They cited instances of cooperation between the cities that have now been affected due to this strained international relationship.

The tension between France and Azerbaijan escalated further when accusations were made against France by the Evian city council, expressing support for Armenia during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. This event, coupled with recent diplomatic actions, has led to heightened strains between the two nations.

Diverse perspectives emerge regarding the root cause of this tension. Some experts view it as a consequence of France’s alleged investigation into properties associated with the Aliyevs in France, potentially involving issues such as money laundering and human rights concerns. Others see it as a consequence of broader geopolitical competitions, with Azerbaijan aligning itself more closely with Russia amidst worsening relations with the West.

Despite the history of diplomatic ties established between France and Azerbaijan since the early ’90s, the recent events have cast a shadow on their relationship, leading to a precarious diplomatic situation.

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