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France Hosts Criminal Head of Armenian Armed Separatists Deployed in Azerbaijan's Karabakh Region

By Timucin Turksoy December 10, 2022

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A picture of an Azerbaijani boy killed in Armenian attacks hangs on a wall of damaged buildings as an Azerbaijani flag waves on the rubble above, November 5, 2020. Arayik Harutyunyan was one of the culprits of deadly missile attacks on Ganja during the 2020 war / AA Photo

The criminal head of the illegal Armenian armed separatists in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, Arayik Harutyunyan, has visited France, where he met with some members of the parliament and appeared on a TV program.

Harutyunyan embarked on a visit to France earlier this week. He met with some pro-Armenian members of the French Senate and National Assembly on December 6 to talk about his intentions to fuel separatism within the borders of Azerbaijan.

On the same day, President of the Regional Council of Île-de-France Valérie Pécresse, a pro-Armenian politician who illegally visited the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan exactly one year ago, also received the separatist criminal vowing “solidarity and support”. Pécresse also called for an end to a “conflict” in the Karabakh region for bringing stability and peace to South Caucasus.

The next stop for Harutyunyan was a program aired on the state-run France 24 TV channel and Agence France Press media organization primarily controlled by the government. On air at France 24 studio, he again talked about “free Artsakh people”, “independent Artsakh”, and “self-determination right” for ethnic Armenians living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to France Leyla Abdullayeva said on her official Twitter account that “the broadcast by France 24 TV channel of an interview with the so-called representative of the illegal entity, not recognized by the world community, encourages the promotion of separatism, undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and harms peace efforts by exacerbating the tension.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the head of the illegal separatist entity set up by Armenia on the Azerbaijani territories met with the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who also voiced her support for the illegal self-designed armed formation in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

All that happened in France, a country that served during illegal Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan's Karabakh region as one of three countries chairing the OSCE Minsk Group, a mediation structure which had been tasked with fetching a peaceful end to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The Group’s shuttle diplomacy failed to deliver on its commitments over nearly 30 years.

In addition, despite the Minsk Group’s charter calling for neutrality in the negotiation process under the chairmanship mandate, France did not hide its sympathy for Armenia during its co-chairmanship. It also took Yerevan's side during the 44-day war between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the Karabakh region from September 27 through November 9, 2020. President Emmanuel Macron voiced solidarity with Armenia on the fourth day of the fighting on September 30. The French government, towns, and aid groups spared no effort to help Armenia. French cargo flights delivered various assistance tools to Yerevan shortly after the end of hostilities.

Following the 2020 war, the French Senate and lower house of the French parliament adopted resolutions to push the government to green-light the recognition of the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh” as an independent state although even Armenia itself rejected to recognize the illegal separatist regime in the Azerbaijani lands.

After the 2020 war, the Azerbaijani authorities and President Ilham Aliyev personally voiced dissatisfaction with the decades-long ineffective activities of the OSCE Minsk Group and publicly announced its mediation was unacceptable for Baku.

“This group was established not to resolve the problem, but to perpetuate the fact of occupation,” President Aliyev said at the 5th Congress of World Azerbaijanis. Armenian lobby groups are quite influential in the Minsk Group co-chair countries. This is why this group did not achieve any results for 28 years,” President Aliyev said back in April, 2022. “The OSCE understands perfectly well that the Minsk Group no longer exists … I said that 2022 would see the 30th anniversary of their establishment. They will celebrate the anniversary and then retire.”

Following the failure in the Minsk Group, France sought involvement in Azerbaijan-Armenia normalization through new formats. President Emmanuel Macron attended a meeting next to the European Council President Charles Michel, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Prague, Czech Republic, in early October. The ultimate focus of the meeting was to facilitate the peacebuilding process between Baku and Yerevan. Back then, Macron tweeted a photo from the meeting, where he was also in attendance, saying “for the durable peace in the Caucasus”.

However, following weeks, in November, the French Senate and National Assembly adopted a resolution suggesting the government recognize the illegal separatist formation in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, support Armenia, and condemn Azerbaijan. Later in the same month, the Francophonie organization, of which Armenia is a member, drafted biased and distorted provocative provisions against Azerbaijan under the aegis of the French government as part of draft resolution dedicated to crisis situations in the Francophone area.