STEPANAKERT—On Sept. 9, Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakian received a group of French Senate and National Assembly members, the President’s press office reported.
Issues related to Artsakh-France relations, the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict and its settlement, and other regional issues were discussed during the meeting. The two sides also discussed the development of parliamentary ties between the two republics.
According to President Sahakian, Artsakh sees France as a friendly country and is interested in deepening relations with it on a continuous basis.
Vice-chairman of the Artsakh National Assembly Arthur Tovmasyan and other officials partook in the meeting.
French Senator Alain Néri said he considers that the relations between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh can be settled in a democratic way on the basis of the principles of the right of peoples to self-determination. Senator Néri is head of the delegation of the France-Artsakh parliamentary friendship group.
The friendship between France and Artsakh has been developing for years. Not yielding to Azerbaijani threats, French lawmakers, politicians, and public figures maintain relations with the government and public structures and local authorities of Nagorno Karabakh.
Over the past three years three cities in Karabakh have established ties with French towns. Jack Remilier, ex-Mayor of the city of Vienne, which cooperates with Artsakh’s Hadrut, declared yesterday that relations would be established between three more pairs of French and Artsakhi cities in the near future.
“Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to France called me and said I would not be allowed to visit Azerbaijan any more. I said I’m very glad, as I never intended to visit the country,” Remilier said.
Senator Alain Néri, who is the deputy head of the French delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, has declared even in Baku that he regrets that French lawmakers are denied visas to Azerbaijan because of having visited Artsakh. He’s not worried about the prospects of sharing the same destiny.
“We have come to Karabakh today as French MPs and we have not asked for anyone’s permission, because freedom is a supreme value to us, and the right of lawmakers, and not only, to the freedom of movement is part of that value,” he told reporters in Stepanakert.
Senator Néri was in Baku this summer, when the situation at the line of contact was tense. Speaking in Stepanakert, he noted that any issue can be solved on the basis of democratic values, but “when weapons speak, democracy keeps silent.” He suggests taking the right to self-determination as a basis for normalization of Azerbaijan-Karabakh relations.
The French lawmakers say they are in Armenia to seek new areas of cooperation, irrespective of the stance of neighboring Azerbaijan. “I’m here to contribute to the international recognition of your country. I’m here to participate in the establishment of final peace in your country, on your borders. I want your borders to be safe and recognized,” Jack Remilier said.