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Azerbaijan unhappy with Francois Hollande’s statement on self-determination for Karabakh

An Azerbaijani lawmaker blames France for pro-Armenian position and urges to send a note to Paris over President Francois Hollande’s recent statement on Nagorno Karabakh.

MP Azay Guliyev on Tuesday criticized French President Hollande’s latest comments on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, calling on Baku to send a note of protest to Paris.  He believes “France supports Armenia in violation of the norms of international law.”

Addressing the Parliament’s plenary sitting, the MP described Hollande’s recent statement on self-determination for Karabakh as a “non-constructive” step.

He said “France is a country which has the closest relationship with Armenia” and noted that French citizens constitute the majority of those visiting Nagorno Karabakh.

The comments come after French President Francois Hollande’s remarks at the annual dinner with the Coordinating Council of the Armenian Organizations of France.  Addressing the meeting Francois Hollande announced plans to discuss the Karabakh issue with Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan during the latter’s visit to France in March. He emphasized the urgency of finding a way out of the conflict “because the murderous clashes that occurred during those terrible days of April 2 to 5 remind us that deaths are reported in Nagorno-Karabakh almost every day.”

“So we have to act. We must act, first of all, to stop hostilities when they happen – this is what we did with our Russian and American partners: there was a halt to the fighting, the opening of a dialogue , a truce. But we cannot be satisfied with a truce, because the ceasefire is not the solution. We must open real negotiations for the resolution of the conflict. It would be a serious mistake, once again, to consider that the situation has stabilized. We need to find elements of conflict resolution. We know them; they have been fixed; these are the Madrid principles – I will not state them here – but we know that they will lead, if they are applied, to the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Hollande stated, in part.

“This was the first time a President of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country declares that if applied, the Madrid Principles will lead to the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Kayts Minasyan,  analyst at the Center of Strategic Studies of France, said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia. Accoridng to him, no President had done it before.

“President Hollande spoke about the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination, without even referring to the other ones. Surely, other principles are also included in the Madrid Principles, but he didn’t speak about territorial integrity,” said Minasyan, who was present at the dinner.

Commenting on Azerbaijan’s anger over the statement, the expert said: “Azerbaijan has recently suffered three defeats on the diplomatic fields.  First, France’s current Interior Minster is on Azerbaijan’s black list for having visited Nagorno Karabakh two years ago. The second defeat was President Hollande’s statement. The third defeat was the refusal of the French Court to accept a complaint from Azerbaijan against MP Francois Rochebloine, a friend of Armenians.”

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