PARIS, STEPANAKERT—Nagorno-Karabakh’s “international legal status can only be determined within the framework of a peaceful and equitable solution agreed upon by all parties concerned,” said a French foreign ministry spokesperson in response to Azerbaijan’s protest regarding the “solidarity” visit of French Parliament members to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
“[The] parliamentarians have been duly advised of our position with respect to Nagorno-Karabakh. Consequently, this visit does not in any way reflect or change France’s policy with respect to this conflict,” said Bernard Valero, the French foreign ministry spokesperson during a press conference in Paris on Tuesday.
“France, like all countries in the international community, including Armenia itself, does not recognize this territory’s independence. This territory’s international legal status can only be determined within the framework of a peaceful and equitable solution agreed upon by all parties concerned,” explained Valero.
“France co-chairs the OSCE Minsk Group, together with the United States and Russia, and as such was tasked with helping to find a compromise based on the Helsinki Final Act and the proposals put forward by the French, American and Russian presidents on numerous occasions, notably during the G8 Summits in L’Aquila in 2009 and Muskoka in 2010,” stated Valero.
The head of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s presidential press service said the French response should have a “numbing impact on Azerbaijan.”
“We consider this response quite natural, as Artsakh is not recognized internationally yet. The hysteria caused by Azerbaijan shows Azerbaijan’s true colors. I do not think the Europeans do not have a corresponding assessment of such hysterical behavior at least for themselves,” said Karabakh presidential spokesperson, Davit Babayan.
He explained that throughout the years the number of high-level visits by French delegations was on the rise, noting that “A wide array of practical and personal ties is created as a result of such visits. It is quite important for us to deepen the cooperation within the international framework.”
A four-person delegation headed by Guy Teissier, chairman of the French National Assembly’s committee on national defense, is in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and met with President Bako Sahakian, local parliamentarians and other officials in what is being dubbed as a trip show of support for Karabakh’s pursuit of international recognition of its independence.
“Coming to Armenia is a gesture of friendship. Coming to Karabakh is a gesture of solidarity,” Teissier said in a speech at the Karabakh parliament, reported RFE/RL on Monday.
Teissier is joined by his colleagues, Jacques Remiller, Georges Colombier, and Valerie Boyer, all members of the Union for a Popular Movement party.
In response to this visit the Azeri Embassy in France issued note of protest and a foreign ministry spokesperson on Tuesday declared that the members of the French National Assembly were place on Azerbaijan’s “blacklist.”
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry welcomed the French Foreign Ministry comments. Official Baku interpreted the French response as declaring that the National Assembly members had “illegally” traveled to Azerbaijan.