Baku: French FM's statement runs counter to diplomatic traditions
By Vafa Ismayilova
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has described as "irresponsible and unacceptable" a recent statement by France's Europe and Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, saying that it contradicts diplomatic traditions.
"We regret to note that French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian made a statement in the National Assembly in an inappropriate form for a diplomat on January 18 this year. Thus, a member of the National Assembly from the Republican Party, Eric Siotti, who tried to insult the Azerbaijan president for provocative purposes, should have been given a harsh answer. Minister Le Drian stated that the statements of the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan in connection with the illegal visit of [French presidential candidate] Valérie Pécresse to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are 'unacceptable in form and content'," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva said.
The spokesperson described President Ilham Aliyev's recent statement on the illegal visit of Valérie Pécresse to Azerbaijan as "completely logical and correct".
"The irresponsible and unacceptable interpretation of the statement of the president of another country by Minister Le Drian contradicts diplomatic traditions. We note with regret that the foreign minister of a country with great statehood traditions, such as France, does not understand this," Abdullayeva added.
She reiterated that Aliyev's statement is an appropriate response to those violating Azerbaijan's laws.
"President Ilham Aliyev's statement on the illegal visit of Valérie Pécresse, Michel Barnier and Bruno Retailleau to the territories of Azerbaijan is completely legitimate; This is an adequate response to those who violate the laws of Azerbaijan. Pécresse's status as a French presidential candidate cannot give her the privilege of being above Azerbaijani laws. She must also be accepted like any other foreign citizen. We remind that when foreign citizens illegally enter the territory of Azerbaijan, appropriate measures are taken against them in accordance with the Administrative or Criminal Code of the country. If a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan violated the laws of France and illegally entered the territory of France, then adequate measures would also be taken against him," the spokeswoman stressed.
Abdullayeva emphasized the fact that during the 44-day war and after it the French government was on the side of the occupying Armenia.
"Both chambers of the French parliament have adopted documents calling for the recognition of the so-called 'Nagorno-Karabakh Republic', which is not even recognized by Armenia. We would like to note that the messages by the opposite side during the meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and President Ilham Aliyev, held on December 15, 2021, at the initiative of the president of France, contradict the statement of the foreign minister of this country, Le Drian, and do not contribute to the normalization of Azerbaijani-French relations," she added.
Abdullayeva said that Azerbaijan will continue taking measures against those illegally visiting its internationally-recognized territories.
"At the same time, we would like to emphasize that if a representative of France or other states illegally visits the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan will take the necessary steps within the framework of its Constitution and relevant legislation," she added.
It should be noted that in an interview with 12 local TV channels on January 12, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Pécresse would not have been permitted to leave the country, had Baku been informed about her illegal trip.
It was a covert trip, organised in contravention of Azerbaijani and international legislation, and Baku reacted appropriately by sending a note of protest to the French embassy.
Pecresse’s ludicrously disproportionate reaction to President Aliyev’s remarks is also very likely to be a calculated PR attempt aimed at adding an extra respectability to her pro-Armenian stance and also provide a good opportunity to attack her opponent Macron. That is the reason why she interpreted what was a legitimate warning as a "death threat" without having a single shred of hard evidence for making such an accusation.
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