French reporter's provocative remarks utter failure
By Vafa Ismayilova/Sabina Mammadli
France announced in early 2022, through its ambassador in Baku, that its relations with Azerbaijan were entering a new phase.
Zacharie Gross predicted that 2022 would be a “good year” for Azerbaijani-French relations.
Year of peace, unity
In his opinion, Azerbaijan's ties with the EU, which France will chair for the next six months, have improved in 2021. Gross stressed the December 10 Eastern Partnership Summit’s role as well.
The 27 EU member states offer Azerbaijan deep cooperation in exchange for concrete commitments to regional connectivity, sustainable development, and economic diversification. This cooperation can and should benefit a more sovereign Europe as well as the Republic of Azerbaijan as it faces major international challenges, he added.
Gross expressed the confidence that the French leader’s efforts to promote peace, security, and development in the South Caucasus will continue in 2022.
"Let us continue the France-Azerbaijan and EU-Azerbaijan partnerships, and make 2022 the South Caucasus year of peace and unity," Gross said.
Meanwhile, France's plan to focus on the regional development of liberated Aghdam, which includes opportunities for cooperation such as mine clearance and assistance in identifying people who have been missing since the early 1990s during the first Karabakh war with Armenia, is also noteworthy.
The French embassy praised the February 4 virtual meeting of the Azerbaijani, French, European Council and Armenian leaders, saying that "it is time to abandon nationalist rhetoric and historical disputes. To resolutely embark on the path of peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the participation of all people of goodwill, old and young, will be required".
On December 15, 2021, French President Emanuel Macron said after his Brussels meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that "we must find ways for a lasting peace. Last night, we made progress on this issue with President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan".
French reporter’s provocative remarks
Against the backdrop of France's recent efforts to ensure long-term peace in the South Caucasus region, Jean-Christophe Buisson's failure to remain objective as deputy director of one of France's largest magazines, Le Figaro, raises concerns. It is even more surprising to see Buisson contradict his homeland's actions.
The French journalist recently tweeted provocative remarks about the alleged cultural "genocide" of Armenian heritage in "Artsakh" (Azerbaijan's Karabakh region).
It should be emphasized that war never ends without leaving irreversible scars on nations and lands. As a result, it is only natural that both sides suffered losses and destruction during the second Karabakh War in 2020. The odd thing here is that the journalist only covers one side of the story, completely ignoring the hardships of the Azerbaijani people.
The influence of the Armenian diaspora, which has always sought escalation and tension in the South Caucasus region, cannot be ruled out.
Turning a blind eye to Armenian devastation and damage that cost Azerbaijan billions of dollars is obviously biased and prejudiced.
It is worth recalling Buisson once again that the entire world community and international organizations do not recognize "Artsakh" as this term does not exist in international law.
There is only Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s historical territory, which Armenia occupied for almost 30 years and inflicted colossal damages.
The French journalist is not aware or simply ignores the fact that there is Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Baku center. Azerbaijan combines in itself Orthodox churches, synagogues and Muslim mosques, which shows the religious diversity and multiculturalism of the country.
Buisson is resentful about the fact that neither the French government nor UNESCO reacts to the "cultural genocide”.
Let us recall Buisson and some others that Baku dismissed as biased the abovementioned allegations and applauded the agreement reached on February 4 at an online meeting between Aliyev, Macron, Pashinyan and Council of Europe President Charles Michel on sending a UNESCO mission to Armenia and Azerbaijan in the near future.
Baku described it as important in terms of detailed study, monitoring, and documentation of the Azerbaijani heritage on Armenia's territory.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva added that for decades, Armenia prevented the UNESCO mission to visit the occupied territories to hide the purposeful destruction it had committed on Azerbaijani territories and stressed that this fact is clearly reflected in the activity report published by UNESCO in 2005.
"At the same time, Armenia has completely destroyed the Azerbaijani cultural heritage on its territory by violating international law, including humanitarian law, the 1949 Geneva Conventions, as well as 1954 and 1970 UNESCO Conventions over the past 30 years," Abdullayeva said.
Armenian cultural crimes
The question that arises from all of this is why does the journalist focus solely on this alleged "genocide", ignoring all of Armenia's crimes in Azerbaijan?
Why does he ignore Armenian invaders' vandalism in Karabakh? He continues to disregard the significant damage they have inflicted on the Azerbaijani nation's spiritual and cultural heritage.
Let us stress that hundreds of cultural institutions, 927 libraries with a book fund of 4.6 million, 22 museums and museum branches with over 100,000 exhibits, 4 art galleries, 8 culture, and recreation parks, as well as one of the world's oldest settlements in Fuzuli region - Azykh Cave, the Shusha State Historical and Architectural Reserve - have been vandalized by Armenians.
Armenia's desecration of mosques stuffed with pigs needs to be covered.
The scale of Armenia's ecological catastrophe is also enormous. They used phosphorus bombs to burn down the dense forests in Shusha, causing irreparable damage to the entire ecosystem.
Buisson never mentions Armenia's destructions of once-thriving Aghdam. Occupied by Armenian forces in 1993, now liberated Aghdam is known as the Hiroshima of the Caucasus for the level of destruction during the three decades of occupation.
Perhaps Jean-Christophe Buisson is unfamiliar with Karabakh's history; the solution could be for him to educate himself on the subject.
It is noteworthy that the French journalist made his remarks in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the horrendous genocide committed against Azerbaijanis by Armenians in Karabakh's Khojaly settlement.
Surely, the above-mentioned "genocide" claims that Buisson seems to be so worried about pale in comparison to the genocide of Azerbaijanis in 1992.
On national leader Heydar Aliyev's initiative, the victims of the Khojaly genocide are commemorated every year on February 26.
It should be mentioned that in the 20th century, Armenians perpetrated systematic crimes and atrocities against Azerbaijanis to break the spirit of the nation and annihilate the Azerbaijani people of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Khojaly genocide is regarded as the culmination of Armenian mass murders.
Some 613 Azerbaijanis, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elders were brutally murdered on the ground of national identity in Khojaly in 1992.
This heinous act was preceded by a slew of others. Armenians set fire to around 20 buildings in the Baghanis-Ayrim village of Gazakh region, killing eight Azerbaijanis. A family of five, including a 39-day-old newborn, were all burnt alive.
Between June and December 1991, Armenian troops murdered 12 and wounded 15 Azerbaijanis in Khojavand region's Garadaghli and Asgaran region's Meshali villages.
Armenian military detachments bombed buses on the Shusha-Jamilli, Aghdam-Khojavand, and Aghdam-Garadaghli routes in August and September of the same year, killing 17 Azerbaijanis and injuring over 90 others.
In October and November 1991, Armenians burned, destroyed, and plundered over 30 settlements in the mountainous area of Karabakh, including Tugh, Imarat-Garvand, Sirkhavand, Meshali, Jamilli, Umudlu, Garadaghli, Karkijahan, and other significant villages.
Second Karabakh War
In 2020, as a result of Armenia's targeted missile attacks on Azerbaijani cities outside the war zone (Ganja, Barda, Tartar, and others), 100 Azerbaijani civilians, including 12 children and 27 women were killed and over 400 were wounded. Some 181 children lost one parent, five children lost both parents, one family died. In total, 12,292 residential and non-residential buildings and 288 vehicles were damaged.
International human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also verified the use of banned cluster bombs and rockets by Armenia in its attacks against Azerbaijani cities.
Armenia extensively damaged the ecosystem, wildlife and natural resources in and around occupied Karabakh.
This list can be enlarged as Azerbaijanis endured continuous suffering as a result of Armenian aggression.
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