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Azerbaijani Parliament Committee Urges Action Against France’s Anti-Azerbaijan Activities

By Gunay Hajiyeva January 19, 2024

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The parliament of Azerbaijan / Murad Orujov / Sputnik

The Azerbaijani parliament committee has called on the government to respond to the extensively growing anti-Azerbaijan activities in France, reflected explicitly in racial, Azerbaijanophobic, and Islamophobic calls by the country’s political circles, including the Senate and the National Assembly.

On Thursday, the International and Interparliamentary Relations Committee of the Azerbaijani parliament condemned France’s escalating provocations against Azerbaijan, stating that bilateral ties are at the lowest level and could “essentially be deemed suspended due to the anti-Azerbaijani policy of the French Government with the resolutions passed by both Houses of the Parliament of France.”

“Though it is a unilateral as well as multilateral obligation of France to respect the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan within its borders recognised internationally, France nonetheless calls into question the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country in the draft resolutions that are initiated in France itself as well as in international organisations,” the statement reads.

The committee members also blame France for undermining mutual confidence-building measures and peace efforts between Azerbaijan and Armenia by arming the latter and encouraging Armenian revanchists to wage a new war.

The statement also recalls the unproductive OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship of France during the Karabakh conflict, Paris’s indifference to the fate of one million Azerbaijani internally displaced persons and refugees, the provocative activities that question the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the efforts of the French authorities to ignite racial hatred inside the country, as well as the bloody French colonial legacy.

The committee members ultimately call on the government of Azerbaijan to impose sanctions on France, suspend all economic relations, remove all French companies including TotalEnergies from Azerbaijan, prevent French companies from taking part in projects implemented at the request of the Azerbaijani state, as well as take steps towards the recognition of the independence of Kanaky (New Caledonia), Maohi Nui (French Polynesia), and Corsica.

The Azerbaijani parliament committee’s statement on Thursday came on the heels of the anti-Azerbaijan resolution adopted by the French Senate on Wednesday.

The resolution, which received 336 votes in favor and one against, condemns Azerbaijan’s anti-terror measures in the country's Karabakh (Garabagh) region on September 19-20, 2023.

The document also demands the return of Armenians to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, the recognition of their “right to self-determination,” and guarantees for their security, as well as their “cultural and religious heritage.”

The resolution demands severe measures against Azerbaijan, including the seizure of assets of Azerbaijani leaders and an embargo on gas and oil imports from the country.

In 2022 and 2023, the French Senate adopted similar resolutions calling for sanctions against Azerbaijan. The documents addressed almost the same demands included in Wednesday’s resolution.

The documents were met with criticism from Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani response emphasized that they were based on false and slanderous provisions and served to undermine the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia launched a full-scale military campaign against Azerbaijan, resulting in a prolonged and deadly conflict. The war, which ended in a 1994 ceasefire, saw Armenia occupying 20% of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. This occupation led to the deaths of over 30,000 Azerbaijanis and the expulsion of one million others in an ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

On September 27, 2020, tensions flared when Armenia’s forces stationed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. In a 44-day counter-attack, Azerbaijani forces successfully liberated approximately 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha. The war concluded with a tripartite statement signed on November 10, 2020, by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Under this agreement, Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.

Khankendi, as well as certain parts of Khojaly and Khojavand districts, remained within the temporary monitoring zone of the Russian peacekeeping mission deployed in certain parts of the Karabakh region after the 2020 war. Despite the legally binding demands on the withdrawal of the Armenian forces from these areas, the largest portion of the troops was stationed in Khankendi along with the other settlements, including Khojaly, Aghdara, Khojavand, and Asgaran. The peacekeepers failed to enforce the withdrawal despite their relevant obligations.

Since 2020, the Armenian army formations committed dozens of provocations, causing loss of life on the Azerbaijani side.

On September 19, 2023, the Azerbaijan Armed Forces launched local anti-terrorist measures to neutralize illegal Armenian armed formations and their military infrastructure in the Karabakh region. These measures, responding to intensified Armenian attacks and deadly incidents, concluded on September 20, 2023, with the Azerbaijani military dismantling the separatists’ entire military infrastructure. The Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan officially declared the end of local counter-terrorism measures, following the separatists’ agreement to complete disarmament.

Despite Baku’s calls for reintegration and guarantees of fundamental rights, a significant number of Karabakh’s Armenian residents voluntarily left the region for Armenia. On September 28, the Armenian separatist regime in the Karabakh region self-dissolved, and on October 15, President Ilham Aliyev hoisted the Azerbaijani state flag in Khankendi, officially announcing the restoration of Azerbaijan's sovereignty in the entire Karabakh region.