ADDS REMARKS FROM HIKMAT HAJIYEV, FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN, DIPLOMATIC NOTE
By Jeyhun Aliyev and Yusuf Ozcan
ANKARA/ PARIS (AA) - Azerbaijan’s parliament on Thursday slammed a resolution by the French Senate urging the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as "a republic."
"This step of the French Senate does not fit into the commitments undertaken by France within the global strategy on EU foreign and security policy, including documents on the territorial integrity of countries consistently adopted since 2016 by the EU Council," it said in a statement.
The statement stressed that such a republic has not been recognized by any country.
"The implementation of the provisions of this resolution has the potential to deal a crushing blow to the EU and its Eastern Partnership program," it added.
The parliament underlined that one of the main reasons for the "unresolvedness" of the nearly three-decade long Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was that the states that played the role of international mediator in peace negotiations, in particular France, "didn’t call the aggressor [by] their name, didn’t differentiate between the occupier and the occupied."
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group -- co-chaired by France, Russia and the US -- was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but to no avail.
The statement also highlighted that Azerbaijan during the 44-day war -- which started with another Armenian provocation against Azerbaijan -- used its right to self-defense in accordance with paragraph 51 of the UN Charter.
"In the resolution of the French Senate, there is no evidence that the Turkish Armed Forces participated in the counter-offensive operation by Azerbaijan and that mercenaries from some conflictive regions of the Middle East were used against Armenia. Unfounded and falsified allegations were made about the commission of war crimes against civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, no facts are given for these statements," it said.
It noted that on the other hand, there are "irrefutable facts that chauvinist, racist and terrorist groups of mercenaries" from foreign countries, including France, were used against Azerbaijan, which were brought into the warzone by Armenia, committing "grave war crimes" against civilians and civilian facilities in the settlements located far from the warzone.
The parliament recalled that during the war against Azerbaijan earlier in 1992-1994, the Armenian Armed Forces committed a number of "massacres" against peaceful people of Azerbaijan, including the Khojaly genocide.
On Feb. 26, 1992, during a two-hour Armenian offensive, 613 Azerbaijanis were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people, and 487 others were critically injured, according to Azerbaijan's official figures.
"Considering itself an 'example' for respect to human rights and democratic values, France chose to remain silent in the face of these crimes against peaceful Azerbaijanis," it said.
- Colonial crimes
The top legislative body also reminded France that during the "colonial policy," the French Armed Forces "massacred hundreds of thousands of civilians for ethnic and religious affiliation."
"The crimes of genocide committed are an indelible dark mark in the political history of France," it added.
The National Assembly went on to say that a Russia-brokered trilateral agreement signed by the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and the prime minister of Armenia on Nov. 10 put an end to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the occupation of Azerbaijani lands as well as opened the way for further development of the South Caucasus region.
The peace deal "restored the superiority" of the norms and principles of international law, it said.
The parliament stressed that all international organizations and states, including France, "must accept new realities" in the South Caucasus region, which are supported by Russia and Turkey, adding they are also accepted by Armenia.
The parliament appealed to the Azerbaijani government to appeal to the OSCE leadership for the withdrawal of France from the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group, which, "by its position and appeals of the last days, casts doubt on its [impartiality]."
It also appealed to "reconsider" the political relations existing between Baku and Paris and to "deeply analyze" the economic relations existing between Azerbaijan and France and "take the necessary measures."
Also, in the wake of the incident, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the French Ambassador to Baku, Zacharie Gross, and handed him a diplomatic note expressing that the French Senate's decision is against the norms and principles of international law.
Meanwhile, Hikmat Hajiyev, the assistant to the president and foreign policy chief for Azerbaijan's Presidency, said the resolution of the French Senate is just a piece of paper for Azerbaijan, nothing more, according to Azerbaijan's state-run news agency Azertac.
It was noted that the Senate's "provocative step is a manifestation of the traditional Armenian fanaticism of the French political circles."
"We firmly reject the false accusations and slander against Azerbaijan and fraternal Turkey which are reflected in the text of the resolution and strongly condemn attempts to distort the historical, political and legal aspects of the conflict.
"The claims against Turkey and Azerbaijan, which have not yet been confirmed by any evidence, for allegedly involving hired terrorists from abroad in hostilities are groundless," it said.
In addition, Paris does not recognize the so-called "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic," French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von Der Muhll said in a statement.
Muhll added that France's responsibility as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair is to work for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through negotiations.