Azerbaijan’s Determination To Liberate Own Lands Enrages France

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 6 October 2020
Azerbaijan’s Determination To Liberate Own Lands Enrages France

Azerbaijan says its victorious army is successfully advancing throughout the entire contact line in the breakaway Karabakh region to end the nearly 30-year occupation of lands by Armenia.

The counter-offensive the Azerbaijani army lunched on September 27 has already seen the liberation of the southern district of Cabrayil (Jebrail) District with dozens of its and Fuzuli District villages, the strategic gateway Suqovusan, formerly Magadiz, in the north of Karabakh, including the crucial Murovdag height that puts a vital road from Armenia to Karabakh under Baku’s control.

However, what is obvious is that Azerbaijan’s determination to end the 30-year occupation and restore its sovereignty over its internationally-recognized lands enraged some countries, among which France’s Emmanuel Macron, who, as soon as the first fire was heard, made an urgent telephone call to Baku to urge a cease-fire in Karabakh. France, as one of the three international mediators tasked to broker a solution in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, has long lost a moral right to a fair arbiter.

In the meantime, the French calls for a cease-fire have fallen on deaf ears in Baku and this is because of compelling evidence that official Paris is against the essence of its mission as the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair. France is one of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group along with the U.S and Russia. The Minsk Group, the activities of which have become known as the Minsk Process, spearheads the OSCE's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since 1992.

On September 27, right away after Azerbaijan’s counter-offensive in the separatist Karabakh, French President Emmanuel Macron called President Ilham Aliyev to urge him call a halt to Baku’s “patriotic war”.

Emmanuel Macron expressed his concern over the armed confrontation on the line of contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan and stressed the importance of resolving the conflict through negotiations, Trend news agency said

For his part, the Azerbaijani president told Macron that the Armenian leadership was consciously disrupting the process of negotiations. The statement of the Armenian leadership that "Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenia" dealt a serious blow to the talks, while his statement "Azerbaijan should negotiate with Nagorno-Karabakh" is an attempt to change the format of the talks, which is also unacceptable, as stated by the leadership of the Minsk Group, according to the report.

During the telephone conversation, the president highlighted the course of events related to the ongoing military provocation, committed by Armenia against Azerbaijan on September 27, underscoring that Azerbaijani civilians and servicemen were killed as a result of the heavy artillery fires on the positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces and settlements along the frontline, and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces are conducting a successful counter-offensive operation in response.

Macron’s failure to persuade the Azerbaijani leader to call off war did not discourage him but forced to face to Moscow and Washington to seek voices that are more influential. The Russian and U.S. presidents though reluctantly joined Macron-led call for an immediate halt to Azerbaijan’s just war to stop the hostilities. However, this also has not worked and the military advance of the Azerbaijani army is underway.

Speaking to Al Arabiya TV channel, President Ilham Aliyev revealed some details of his conversation with the French president.

Over the past 10 days, last week, the French president called me twice, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with Al Arabia. Answering a question about France's accusations of the transit of mercenaries from Syria to Azerbaijan, the president demanded him to present proofs.

I told him to show evidence. There is no evidence of the alleged presence of Syrian militants on our territory. When he called me on September 27, I asked him and from that time until today, I have not seen evidence. If there is such evidence, then why did they not present it? Aliyev questioned.

He added that during another call a few days ago, Macron again raised the issue, alleging that they had intelligence information. I told them to share this intelligence with us. It is wrong to accuse a country without presenting any evidence or proof, and today I have not received any evidence from France related to these unacceptable charges, he added.

“There are no foreign fighters on the Azerbaijani soil, and I told the French president that our army consists of almost 100,000 men. What we are doing in the war zone is being shown on the internet,” the Azerbaijani leader reiterated.

Anyone can see how our modern drones destroy Armenian tanks and air defense systems. Our army liberates one village after another. Our flag is raised on our lands, which have been under occupation for many years. Thus, these charges are completely unfounded, the president said firmly.

Further, Aliyev said that another issue “I can tell you about is that the Armenians spread another fake news that a Turkish F-16 shot down an Armenian-owned Su-25”. This is fake news and it was presented by foreign media. Politicians, European politicians began to use this fake news, and now, when it was proved that this was not the case, no one even apologized, the president added.

I demand an apology from those who accused us. I demand from them to be responsible, to watch their words. We are not a country to tolerate accusations. We are not a country that will tolerate insults. If we start to say what we think, there will be a big commotion in these countries. They must back off Azerbaijan and the region. We are here on our own land, Ilham Aliyev said resolutely.

“Our lands are occupied. If France wants self-determination for Nagorno-Karabakh, then let it give them the city of Marseille, almost half of whose inhabitants are Armenians, allow them to proclaim the Nagorno-Karabakh republic and grant independence. Let them give independence to Corsica, the Basques,” Aliyev said.

Why do they demand from us to grant independence to Nagorno-Karabakh? What right do they have to demand this from us? They must stop making such accusations. We must stop attacking Azerbaijan and undermine our authority. If we start talking about mercenaries and terrorists, then I think those who accuse us will find themselves in an awkward position. Let them look in the mirror before accusing us.

In an interview with Turkey’s TRT Haber TV channel on October 5, the Azerbaijani leader confirmed that no changes have taken place in his approach vis-à-vis the conditions for a cease-fire.

“There are no changes in our position. Today I told you about this again. We are even ready for the fact that if we are given the dates for the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from our lands, then we can work on a ceasefire. It should also be noted that reinstating a ceasefire is not an easy matter, because a ceasefire is not rebuilt unilaterally,” the president said

At this moment, there are serious fierce battles; both sides must give instructions to the soldiers and officers on the ground. Someone will comply with this, some may not. That is, it is a very complex process. However, if we are given a withdrawal date, then, naturally, we will give such an instruction. In this case, if the co-chairs of the Minsk Group and other countries, possible countries join this, the ceasefire will be restored and, thus, the fighting can be stopped.

As for why he singled out France as one of the Minsk Group, the president added that France has singled out itself.

“Throughout the entire process, we treated the co-chairs in the same way. In my official speeches, I have repeatedly said that Azerbaijan has separate relations with each country, of course, the level of these relations is also different,” Aliyev opined.

At the same time, on this issue, we do not separate these countries from each other. I must say that throughout the entire process, up to the latest events, they spoke with a unified position, were neutral that is, and did not support any side. Although we knew that deep inside, they might be supporting someone. In addition, this is natural. However, in official actions and in contacts with us, they never showed this, he said.

Whether or not Azerbaijan urged Macron to apologize for his biased position, the president added that what he attributed to us is wide of the mark and this is unacceptable for our country.

Macron claimed that Azerbaijan, together with Turkey, transferred terrorists to the region. He said that "Azerbaijan wants to re-conquer Nagorno-Karabakh, but we will not allow this".

“Nagorno-Karabakh is our land. Can any state conquer own lands? Doesn't the co-chair country know that there are Armenians illegally on these lands, who have razed all our historical monuments, mosques, graves and houses to the ground?” the president emphasized.