French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has opposed recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh by France despite a massive vote by the National Assembly in favor thereof.
The centrist party, Les Républicains (LR) presented on December 3 the non-binding resolution calling for “the implementation of a process of peace and recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh” to the National Assembly. This request was promptly refused by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reported Le Figaro.
Jean-Yves Le Drian argued his decision by declaring that “our Armenian friends are not asking for it themselves” and that this decision “would amount to excluding ourselves from the co-presidency of the Minsk group” a group which includes Russia, the United States and France. “That would be giving up our role as mediator.”
This is not the first time that French parliamentarians have tried to help Armenians. On November 25 it was the Senate which voted for the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh despite Turkish and Azeri threats.
This region which is populated overwhelmingly by Armenians has been at the heart of a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1994. This frozen conflict finally ended on November 10 when a ceasefire agreement was signed under the aegis of Russia. This ceasefire allowed Azerbaijan to consecrate its victory and annex three quarters of the small self-proclaimed republic.
After the adoption, on November 25 by the Senate of the resolution to recognize the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, the deputy LR Guy Teissier called on the government to show courage.
“It is a very long text, remarkable for balance, which is inspired by the principles of international law but which also draws its legitimacy from the demand for the resumption of negotiations under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk group,” the deputy LR of Bouches du Rhône, Guy Teissier, announced after the resolution was adopted by the Senate.
“The novelty is the request for recognition presented as a prerequisite and not as a hypothetical conclusion of these negotiations. I would add that the demands formulated by the Senate require that our government finally establish direct contact with the elected authorities of Artsakh, if only for the implementation of humanitarian aid,” continued the deputy, who is also the president of the France-Artsakh friendship society.
The senatorial resolution also invited the government “to demand the conduct of an international investigation into the war crimes committed in Nagorno-Karabakh” and to ensure the restoration of the borders defined in 1994, the security of the Armenian populations and the right of return of the displaced persons, as well as the preservation of the Armenian cultural and religious heritage.
“These are requirements stemming from the most fundamental rights when we see the crimes committed by the jihadists or the Azerbaijani soldiers, and the eradication of all traces of the Armenian presence with which they are now busy,” Guy Teissier stressed.
“This resolution simply says that the Armenians have the right to live on their native lands of Artsakh and that the only modality now possible of this right, it is the recognition of their State. The government must hear and make this position its own, it must also bring to their conclusion the political, legal and judicial actions required for this purpose,” Teissier said.
He insisted that the government show the “courage” necessary to emerge from an impartiality that is as sterile for the South Caucasus as it is prejudicial to its own credibility. He said France should recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as it did for Kosovo.
“France cannot advocate these values and avoid them: the government must recognize the Republic of Artsakh,” concluded the LR deputy.
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