PARIS—Three members of the French Parliament—all of the France-Karabakh Friendship Group—in an opinion piece published in Le Monde urged the international recognition for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, calling on sides to be realistic and pragmatic in their approach to peace in the South Caucasus.
The article, signed by François Rochebloine, René Rouquet and Guy Teissier stressed that to support the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is to help establish a lasting peace in the South Caucasus.
The authors draw attention to the upcoming 20th anniversary of the cease-fire agreement signed on May 12, 1994 between Karabakh and Azerbaijan saying: “As a result of this war for independence a new state was born, located between Armenia and Azerbaijan—on Armenian territories—at the crossroads of Russian, Turkish and Iranian cultures.”
The legislator argue that in the 20 years since the cease-fire agreement, an entire generation Karabakh Armenians and Azeris have been deprived of the opportunity to live in peace.
“Peace is extremely fragile in the absence of a document of mutual recognition and even direct dialogue between the parties,” said the parliament members, emphasizing that the current existing facts—the independence of Karabakh—must be recognized and transparent should be initiated.
The three French legislators urged a “realistic and pragmatic approach” to the peace process.
“Neither military rhetoric nor military incursions will persuade Karabakh to return to the ‘bosom’ of Azerbaijan,” said the legislators.
“20 years after the signing of the cease-fire agreement, attacks are repeatedly launched almost every month, which lead to the deaths of soldiers and civilians in Karabakh from the fire of Azerbaijani soldiers, whose attacks aren’t prevented,” the lawmakers pointed out.
“For us, recognition of Karabakh does not mean becoming an enemy to Azerbaijan. We, like other people who visited Karabakh, are recognized as personae non grata by the Azerbaijani regime. This is ridiculous and destructive behavior,” added the French lawmakers.
The French parliamentarians stated that achieving peace, will require “healing the wounds of the past.”
“Crimes have been committed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which need to be uncovered. Armenians were victims in Sumgait, Kirovabad and Maragha, and Meskhetians in Khojaly,” said the parliament members.
“Sumgait pogroms organized on the February 27, 1988, where hundreds of people became victim, served as the cause for the conflict. This, led to the arrests and judicial indictment by Soviet authorities, however only the executors were punished. The real organizers were not brought to justice, and the fact that the murders were premeditated, was also ignored,” explained the article.
“The power of democracy means to be confident in your abilities and to establish the necessary commissions, which will expose and convict the real culprits, softening the pain and promoting the reconciliation,” stressed the authors of the article.
The three legislators praised a recent report by Freedom House that elevated its ranking of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in its advancements in protecting human rights and freedoms.
“We are in full agreement with the former Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghukasyan, who recently said that ‘the purpose of conflict resolution is not only in the official rejection of hostility, but also it is the establishment of historic reconciliation between the two peoples … for preventing further conflicts’ and that contacts between civil societies can pave the way for that,” said the Le Monde article.
The authors expressed hope that their appeal will resonate with “new forces that are created there [in Azerbaijan], which will reject [the Azeri] propaganda of hatred and will look toward the future.”
“If these forces materialize, if initiatives to establish dialogue and contacts are created, then we can ensure that our humble group will become supporters and comrades-in-arms with them,” concluded the French lawmakers.