A draft motion filed in the French Senate on Thursday calls for imposing sanctions against Azerbaijan and urges Baku to immediately withdraw its forces from Armenia.
The draft resolution, appearing on the French Senate website, cites relevant articles in France’s Constitution as the basis for its demands, among them enforcement of the November 9, 2020 ceasefire agreement as measure that could promote the establishment of “lasting peace” between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The draft resolution was authored by senators Bruno Retailleau, Christian Cambon, Éliane Assassi, Patrick Kanner, Hervé Marseille and Gilbert-Luc Devinaz.
Last week, a delegation of French lawmakers visiting Armenia on a fact-finding mission voiced their commitment to introducing such a resolution, the news of which was reported widely by the press in Armenia.
There was no indication as to when the French Senate was going to debate the resolution. If passed it would be the first such measure carried out by a European Union member-state. A similar resolution has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, in an effort spearheaded by Sen. Bob Menendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Marco Rubio, the ranking minority member on the committee.
On November 25, 2020, weeks after the end of the 44-Day War, with a vote of 305 to 1 the French Senate adopted a resolution recognizing the independence of Artsakh.
That resolution, along with the 1945 United Nations Charter, the 1949 agreement to form NATO, as well as the 1969 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the November 9, 2020 agreement were cited by the co-authoring senators as the basis for the resolution.
The draft resolution “calls on the Government [of France] to work with determination so that the United Nations Security Council utilizes the International Criminal Court regarding the aggression of Azerbaijan on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, including to investigate on mass crimes and war crimes.”
The draft measure also “calls on the Government to weigh all the diplomatic and economic consequences of these new attacks, and to consider, with its European partners, the strongest appropriate responses – including the seizure of the assets of Azerbaijani leaders and an embargo on imports of gas and oil from Azerbaijan – to sanction the military aggression carried out by the Azerbaijani forces on the territory of the Republic of Armenia, in violation of its sovereignty.”
Below are translated excerpts from the text of the draft resolution.
Whereas the repeated aggression of the Azerbaijani military forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and in the southern and south-eastern regions of Armenia constitute a violation of the sovereignty of this State and of the ceasefire agreements concluded between the two parties ;
Whereas the reports of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe and of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) attest to the impossibility of the Armenian populations to live freely within Azerbaijan;
Whereas the security and freedom of the Armenian population living in Nagorno-Karabakh are not guaranteed by the Republic of Azerbaijan;
Whereas the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that between Azerbaijan and Armenia are taking place in a particularly unstable region, close to the European Union, and carry a risk of escalation potentially involving regional powers;
Whereas the peace talks under the auspices of the European Union are suffering the consequences of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and of the strategic issues linked to the energy autonomy of the European Union;
Whereas the efforts made since 1994 by France, within the framework of the Minsk Group, of which it is a co-chair along with Russia and the United States, to achieve a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; taking into consideration the impact of the Ukrainian conflict on the ability of the Minsk Group to fulfill its mission; furthermore, taking into consideration that this process is permanently hampered by Azerbaijan resorting to a military solution;
Whereas the condemnations of the international community and the emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council at the request of France, which chairs it, strongly condemns the new military aggressions of Azerbaijan perpetrated at the beginning of August 2022 in the Lachin corridor linking Armenia to the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, and reiterated on September 13 and 14, 2022 against the Southern regions and Southeast of the territory of the Republic of Armenia, in violation of its sovereignty, international agreements and the Charter of the United Nations;
Calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal, to their initial positions, of the Azerbajani forces and their allies from the sovereign territory of Armenia and the Lachin corridor, whose security and unchanged status must be ensured, according to the terms of the agreement ceasefire of November 9, 2020;
Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities and all their partners in the region, in particular Turkey, to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Armenia in accordance with their obligations and international commitments;
Calls for the immediate and unconditional release and repatriation of all Armenian prisoners of war;
Condemns the violations by Azerbaijan of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of January 4, 1969 and calls for the respect by the Azerbaijani authorities of the international agreements and conventions aimed at ensuring the security of the Armenian populations and their right to live in peace and freedom, the right to return of displaced populations and the preservation of Armenian cultural and religious heritage;
Calls on the Government [of France] to work with determination so that the United Nations Security Council utilizes the International Criminal Court regarding the aggression of Azerbaijan on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, including to investigate on mass crimes and war crimes;
Calls on the Government to weigh all the diplomatic and economic consequences of these new attacks, and to consider, with its European partners, the strongest appropriate responses – including the seizure of the assets of Azerbaijani leaders and an embargo on imports of gas and oil from Azerbaijan – to sanction the military aggression carried out by the Azerbaijani forces on the territory of the Republic of Armenia, in violation of its sovereignty;
Asks the Government to consider setting up a humanitarian office in Nagorno-Karabakh;
Asks the Government to demonstrate, by all means, France’s support for Armenia, by considering in particular the strengthening of Armenia’s defense capacities with a view to ensuring its territorial integrity;
Asks the Government to immediately take any initiative to guarantee the security of the Armenian populations and of Armenia, within its internationally recognized borders, and to request for this purpose the deployment of an interposition force under the aegis of the international community;
Reaffirms the need to recognize the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and to make this recognition an instrument of negotiations with a view to establishing a lasting peace;
Asks the Government to do everything possible to ensure that Azerbaijan engages urgently and peacefully in a process of negotiation through the diplomatic channel, in order to achieve the establishment of a lasting peace in the South Caucasus.