Azerbaijani authorities claimed this week that “anti-Azerbaijan” text was removed from a resolution expressing solidarity with Armenia adopted at a pan-French summit on November 18.
Armenia attended the two-day summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie, a multilateral institution that promotes cooperation between French-speaking countries, in Djerba, Tunisia between November 18-19. Armenia has been a member state of the organization since 2012 and hosted its previous summit in Yerevan in 2018. Azerbaijan is not a member of La Francophonie.
La Francophonie member states adopted two declarations at the summit, including a resolution titled “Crisis Situation, Their Overcoming and Strengthening of Peace.” Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, who attended the summit, said that, through several paragraphs about Armenia included in the resolution, “La Francophonie member states and governments have expressed their solidarity with Armenia, making the main issues as their own, which determine the peaceful settlement of the sides to the conflict.”
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the original text of the resolution included additional “anti-Azerbaijani” statements that were removed “as a result of the efforts of our friends in the Francophonie organization.”
“We know them well, and they are our friends in the true sense of the word,” Aliyev said during a speech in Baku on November 21.
Aliyev called the original draft an “ugly provocation” planned against Azerbaijan by France. He further mocked Armenia and France, stating, “They could call each other brothers, but for some reason, they say they are sisters.”
Spokesperson for the Armenian Foreign Ministry Vahan Hunanyan denied Aliyev’s claim that the original text of the draft resolution had been altered.
RFE/RL’s Armenian Service obtained a copy of the resolution on crisis situations, which will not be officially published by La Francophonie until November 23. According to the copy, more than 50 countries expressed their solidarity with Armenia and their concern about the recent military escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, especially the violations of international law, territorial integrity and humanitarian law.
More than 300 people were killed on both sides after Azerbaijan launched a large-scale attack along Armenia’s border between September 13-14. Azerbaijani soldiers have captured critical mountainous heights within Armenia and displaced civilian residents of border communities including Nerkin Hand in the Syunik province as a result of the two-day war.
Albania, Romania and Moldova conveyed reservations about the paragraphs regarding Armenia, RFE/RL said.
Foreign Minister Mirzoyan said during the summit that the Albanian delegation requested to reconsider the paragraphs regarding Armenia. Mirzoyan countered the paragraphs are “very balanced and represent the result of compromises into which Armenia has put great effort.”
The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan called La Francophonie a “political tool of France to put pressure on other countries” in a November 19 statement responding to the La Francophonie resolution.
The text about Armenia provides “a possibility of incitement of the political propaganda tools of Armenia,” according to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. The Ministry said the paragraphs were included as a result of “additional political pressures and deterrence steps” by France.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also attended the summit. He met with French President Emmanuel Macron and discussed the outcome of their quadrilateral meeting with European Council President Charles Michel and President Aliyev in Prague last month. Pashinyan “stressed the need to eliminate the consequences of Azerbaijani aggression, and of immediate withdrawal of Azerbaijani units from the sovereign territory of Armenia” during their conversation.
During the October 6 meeting in Prague, the leaders agreed to send an EU observer mission to the Armenian side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border for a maximum period of two months. The mission began in mid-October.
“Faced with new threats, we expect the international community to make a fair assessment of the situation our country has appeared in today, condemning the occupation of some parts of the Armenian territory and demanding the return of Azerbaijani forces to their initial positions,” Pashinyan said during a speech at the summit on November 19.
French-Armenian journalist Tigrane Yegavian said that Armenians need to differentiate between friendship and diplomacy in pursuing relations with France. Yegavian said that Armenians emphasize cultural and emotional ties with France as the basis of friendship between the two countries. Instead, Armenia should strengthen its military relationship through France by seeking opportunities for arms sales from French companies, Yegavian said.
“We should not live on myths and wait for a savior,” Yegavian said during an interview with CivilNet on November 21. “France will not be a savior. Macron is not a savior who will come to Armenia on a white horse.”
Anti-French statements from Azerbaijani authorities have escalated recently in response to France’s public support of Armenia.
On November 15, the French Senate adopted a near unanimous resolution demanding the “immediate and unconditional withdrawal, to their initial positions, of the Azeri forces and their allies from the sovereign territory of Armenia and the Lachin corridor.” The Senate also called on the French government and other European countries to consider sanctions against Azerbaijan, including the “seizure of the assets of Azerbaijani leaders and an embargo on imports of gas and oil from Azerbaijan.”
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said that the resolution “clearly demonstrates the biased and one-sided political position of France.”
“The resolution is completely far from the truth, contains false and slanderous provisions, and serves to undermine the process of normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, having the character of open provocation,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
On October 18, a children’s choir sang a song on public television in Azerbaijan mocking Macron. “He is pro-Armenian. What can you say to this person? He gives us false promises. He dances with Pashinyan. He humiliated himself like this. Say, who is this person?” an announcer sings, to which the children’s choir responds, “Emmanuel!”
The performance followed Macron’s comments on October 12 accusing Azerbaijan of launching a “terrible war” against Armenia in 2020. Until recently, Azerbaijan insisted that Armenia had instigated the 2020 Artsakh War.