The very appearance of the leader of the separatist regime, once formed by Armenia in the occupied Azerbaijani lands, on French soil is support for separatism in itself. In what capacity did Arayik Harutyunyan arrive on the banks of the Seine and the Loire? As a personal friend of Anne Hidalgo? As Valérie Boyer’s mulberry vodka supplier? As Valérie Pécresse’s personal khorovats expert? What passport did he use to enter France? Obviously, Harutyunyan was received here with a clear political motivation, and this alone makes his trip an open demonstration of Paris’s disregard for the fundamental norms of international law. That is, for territorial integrity, respect for borders and state sovereignty. And open support for separatism.
And this, like international terrorism, by the way, is a threat to everyone.
They do not like to talk about it out loud in Paris, but for France itself, separatism is not a theoretical threat. The Oceania Independence Movement has long been active in its “overseas territories”, or simply, in its island colonies. Most recently, in the spring of 2022, there was turmoil on the island of Corsica, Napoleon’s homeland and one of Europe’s oldest pockets of separatism. Here, Ivan Colonna, a militant of the Liberation Front of Corsica, was beaten to death in prison under highly suspicious circumstances. The scale of the unrest was such that official Paris had to put the words “Corsica” and “autonomy” in the same sentence. Admittedly, the National Liberation Front of Corsica sort of renounced armed struggle, but who is to say that they will not take their word back? Moreover, there is also Brittany, with its very radical movement, For Independent Brittany. Then there is the Basque Country, with its long-standing smoldering conflict.
One wonders how Paris would respond if AzTV interviewed the leaders of these groups and movements. If Azerbaijani MPs started to meet with them? And in general, show their support to those people? Yes, Azerbaijan respects borders, international law and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of others. But the “red carpet” put out for Arayik Harutyunyan will certainly be noticed in Corsica, Brittany, Basque Country, and New Caledonia. And they will draw their own conclusions: according to Paris, separatism, including that based on terror, is quite acceptable. And if Armenians are allowed to go against Azerbaijan, why cannot Corsicans go against France?
Obviously, by giving such a lavish reception to Arayik Harutyunyan, France is setting a precedent that is very dangerous for that country itself. The consequences can be truly fatal: those who live in a glass house should not throw stones at their neighbors. Better yet, Paris should put its own house in order, if it considers Brittany, Corsica, and the “overseas territories” to be part of it. To avoid a boomerang effect.
And French politicians, who are now doing their best to woo Arayik Harutyunyan, should definitely keep one thing in mind: Azerbaijan will not “sulk in silence” at this political rudeness just because it is France.
Moreover, the attempts to host the leader of the separatists as an “official guest” do not contribute to the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. And France’s own attempts to ride into the Brussels settlement process on the shoulders of the leader of the Karabakh separatists is, to put it politely, presumptuous. And frankly speaking, one has to be completely without shame and sense of proportion, as well as common sense, to pursue such a policy. That is why we are forced to say it plainly: Azerbaijan will not settle for such “mediation in favor of Arayik”.
French politicians should have learned a simple rule by now: no matter how badly they may want to garner the votes of local Armenians and Islamophobes, there are legal obligations and rules of decorum in politics, and there is liability for violating them.