STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)—Official Azerbaijan has threatened to blacklist a delegation of seven members from the French National Assembly who arrived in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s capital on Tuesday for a three day visit that will encompass meetings with Karabakh’s authorities and non-governmental agencies.
Headed by MP Francois Rochebloine, the delegation is comprised of: Arlette Grosskost, Pascale Crozon, Richard Mallié, René Rouquet, François Rochebloine, Michel Diefenbacher and Jean-Pierre Delannoy. The group is scheduled to visit with their counterparts from the Karabkh Parliament, President Bako Sahakian, and various social and humanitarian organizations operating in the republic. The delegation is also expected to visit Gandzasar and Shoushi.
Rochebloine, who is on his fourth visit to Karabakh, said he plans on returning to France with “great impressions.”
In response to the visit, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry announced the same day that Baku may add all seven members of the delegation to a special blacklist, barring them from entering Azerbaijan.
“If the information is confirmed [of the visiting French Deputies] they may be put on the “black list” of people who are not allowed into Azerbaijan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told reporters at a press conference.
Late last month, five members of the Russian State Duma were declared personae non grata in Azerbaijan for visiting the Karabakh Republic to monitor its parliamentary elections.
Azerbaijan has maintained a blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia since it fought and lost a war between the two Armenian republics after they declared independence from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991.
A cease-fire signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1994 ended major hostilities but the region has been plagued with uncertainty since, with official Baku regularly threatening to launch an all-out war against the fledgling republic to its west.