Numbing Impact: France Responds to Azeri criticism of NKR ‘Solidarity Visit’

PARIS, France—Nagorno-Karabagh’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 this week regarding the “solidarity” visit of French Parliamentary members to the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR).

“[The] parliamentarians have been duly advised of our position with respect to Nagorno-Karabagh. 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 NKR’s presidential press service said the French response should have a “numbing impact on Azerbaijan.”

“We consider this response quite natural, as Artsakh [Karabagh] 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 Karabagh presidential spokesperson Davit Babayan.

Over the past several years, Babayan explained, the number of high-level visits by various French delegations have been on a 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, the chairman of the French National Assembly’s committee on national defense, is in the NKR and met with President Bako Sahakian, local parliamentarians, and other officials in what is being dubbed as a show of support for Karabagh’s pursuit of international recognition of its independence.

“Coming to Armenia is a gesture of friendship. Coming to Karabagh is a gesture of solidarity,” Teissier said in a speech at the Karabagh Parliament, reported RFE/RL on Aug. 22.

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 the visit, the Azeri Embassy in France issued a note of protest and a foreign ministry spokesperson on Aug. 23 declared that the members of the French National Assembly were placed on Azerbaijan’s “blacklist.”

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the French Foreign Ministry’s comments. Official Baku interpreted the French response as declaring that the National Assembly members had “illegally” traveled to Azerbaijan.


  1. Very likely these 3 French parliamentarians knew in advance what reaction Adrbejan would make, yet they made the trip and spoke freely anyway. I praise them for that without knowing their motives, but always remain vigilant that hidden motives are the most important of factors. We can agree easily that Adrbejan would be worthless to the rest of the world if it did not have copious supplies of oil and gas; it produces nothing else — no machinery, no textiles, no high tech, does not develop software, no design genius, no beer/wine/liquor, but maybe exports a little agricultural produce. What Adrbejan represents is a society with a lot of corruption, gross inequality and injustice that prompts the state to blather on and on about Artsakh and so-called lost territories to focus the population’s attention outward and away from domestic issues (which are many and huge). The reality is that Adrbejan, Turkiye, and some co-opted Muslim and other countries we should consider our enemies, are recognizing ‘new’ revised borders that were not in existence before or at the start of the USSR but were arbitrarily drawn by Josef Stalin and approved by Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders. Do we all really hate Stalin so much, or are there a lot of hypocrites with political and socioeconomic power running around talking about Stalinist borders that should be recognized today long after the collapse and end of the USSR? As to recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh, that is long overdue. After the ceasefire of 1994 the world has gone on to recognize new states like Kosovo and South Sudan. It is high time for the Republic of Armenia to recognize NKR. Due to foolish past policies and positions we are in the sad state we find ourselves today (in all ways, not just with relations with neighbor states). It all began in 1991, but let’s leave that argument for another context which would be more suitable. No way can we allow NKR to be considered any part of Adrbejan, that’s the bottom line. Other territories can be negotiated for peace and security but only from the position of strength we have de facto.

  2.  As many of you know, when you travel to Karabakh, you have the option of having your entrance sticker adhered in your passport book or clipped to the exterior. The reason for this is that in the event that you travel to Azerbaijan in the future you will not be admitted if you have an entrance document from the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. By clipping it to the outside, you can discard it in the future.
               It is an honor to display their passport sticker. By the way, have you ever seen a national flag  that sends such a clear message to the world?

  3. It is logically impossible to prove a negative,  therefore  one cannot prove that Azerbaijan does NOT produce this or that. However, by inference, we can reasonably conclude that Tamoulian’s comments about your country are largely accurate Elchin.
    The excerpts below are from “CIA The World Factbook” site, publicly accessible.
    [Azerbaijan’s reliance on energy exports and lackluster attempts to diversify its economy…. Long-term prospects will depend on world oil prices, the location of new oil and gas pipelines in the region, and Azerbaijan’s ability to manage its energy wealth to promote sustainable growth in non-energy sectors of the economy and spur employment]

    Azerbaijan: [Industries: petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment;
    iron ore; cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; textiles]
    Armenia: [Industries:diamond-processing, metal-cutting machine tools, forging-pressing machines, electric motors, tires, knitted wear, hosiery, shoes, silk fabric, chemicals, trucks, instruments, microelectronics,jewelry manufacturing, software development, food processing, brandy]
    It is quite clear, that whatever non-oil industry Azerbaijan has, feeds directly from the cash flow generated by oil gushing from beneath Baku
    There is no self-sustaining economic model. The cash flow from oil exports is used to run show-piece money-losing enterprises. Everything is tied to the production and sale of oil and petroleum products. What happens when the oil flow stops ?
    The same  occurred when Azerbaijanand Armenia were part of USSR. Soviets treated all 15 republics more or less equally. All had an equal opprotunity to develop and advance.  The opportunities in the inefficient Soviet Economic Model were not great, but  it was a level playing field. Yet Armenia was one of the most educated,  industrialized and advanced of all 15 republics. Far ahead of her Caucasian neighbors Georgia and Azerbaijan. Ask yourself why, Elchin.

  4. @Stepan
    That’s only useful for foreign tourists.  It makes  no difference to ethnic Armenian tourists because the Azeri government would not let anyone visit Azerbaijan whose last name ends with -ian or -yan.  That’s what happened to Diana Markosian.  They actually made it illegal for any Armenian to be in Azerbaijan.  So Armenian tourists visiting Artsakh might as well have their entrance stickers adhered in their passport books.

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