PARIS — Eleven French lawmakers and political leaders have signed a transpartisan letter urging President Emmanuel Macron to intervene to ‘prevent irreparable damage’ and ensure the safety of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.
In a letter published by Le Monde, the politicians note that Since December 12, Azerbaijan has been occupying the Lachin corridor, the only route to the outside world for the Armenian population of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh, creating the threat of a major humanitarian disaster. About 120,000 people, including 30,000 children, have been deprived of resources, including food and medical supplies. For three days, Azerbaijan also cut off the gas supply, leaving people without heating, in freezing temperatures.
“This event marks a further escalation of the aggression perpetrated by Azerbaijan against Armenians, both citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia, since September 2020; in total violation of international law, the Geneva Conventions and the negotiations within the framework of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which provide for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue,” they note.
“There is every reason to believe that Azerbaijan will not stop there and will use every opportunity to continue its destabilization and harassment of the Armenian populations of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia, with the stated aim of ethnic cleansing,” the letter continues.
“Attested war crimes, promotion of ethnic hatred, destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage, attack on Armenia in September 2022 and illegal occupation since then of a part of its sovereign territory, and repeated acts of violence against civilian populations: the actions of Azerbaijan are inadmissible, and would lead France to intervene anywhere and under any circumstances. Moreover, it is a threat to a friendly people, “Armenia, our valiant little ally,” in the words of Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929),” the politicians say.
They remind that Armenians and France are linked by centuries of cultural, political and economic ties. Armenians and France are linked by the trade routes to Asia and the Middle East, and by the development of textile industries, the first café in Paris, the Suez Canal, the growing of madder and apricots, and the accordions at French balls.
Armenians and France are linked by the Armenian Legion that fought under our flag during the Great War, and the sacrifice of Missak Manouchian (1906-1944), the hero of the Resistance who refused to allow barbarism to be repeated. “Finally, we are linked by the memory of our greatest literary figures, from Corneille to Nerval, Sand to Lamartine, Victor Hugo to Charles Péguy, and Romain Rolland to Max Jacob and Aragon.”
“There are fundamental values, there are unbreakable principles that unite us and make us a nation. The great and beautiful nation of France. For the sake of these values and principles, which were born from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, for the sake of the unbreakable ties that bind us to the Armenian people, the Senate unanimously, except for one vote, and the National Assembly unanimously adopted resolutions this November in support of Armenia, which is a victim of partial military occupation and incessant attacks,” the politicians say.
In line with the democratic will of the National Assembly and the Senate, they ask the President of the Republic to do everything possible to ensure the lasting security of the Armenians of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia. Given that Azerbaijan has announced that it refuses any international negotiations on the Artsakh issue, the deputies and senators, appeal to Macron to intervene immediately to prevent the irreparable by taking the following measures:
- Condemn Azerbaijan for violation of international law, occupation of a part of the territory of the Republic of Armenia and war crimes,-
- Plan a humanitarian presence in Artsakh and provide immediate economic assistance to Armenia.-
- Meet the representatives of Artsakh,- +Mediate with partners in the EU and the United States so that they take the same steps, and establish joint economic and political sanctions against Azerbaijan,-
- Mediate with partners in the EU and the United States to ensure the relaunching of the Stepanakert airport and ensure the safety of air communication with Artsakh,-
- Submit a claim to the International Criminal Court with the prospect of the UN Security Council sending an international peacekeeping force
“Mr. President, today you are in a position to prevent history from repeating itself and correct one of its injustices. You can prove today to the League of Nations that France is great and true to world values, to its own moral duty and honor. Mr. President, you can finally prove to all our compatriots that France is free, that it can get rid of short-sighted political or economic strategies to protect its humanistic ideals, which are the foundation of our Nation,” the lawmakers emphasize.
The letter has been signed by:
Eric Ciotti, President of the French Republican Party
Olivier Faure, General Secretary of the Socialist Party of France, Member of the French National Assembly
Hervé Marseille, President of the United Democrats and Independents Party of France, President of the Independents faction in the Senate
Fabien Roussel, General Secretary of the French Communist Party
Christian Cambon, President of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces of the French Senate
Bruno Retailleau, President of the “Republicans” faction of the French Senate and the Senate’s international awareness group on Nagorno-Karabakh
Éliane Assassi, President of the Communist faction of the French Senate
Guillaume Gontard, President of the Environmental Protection, Solidarity and Territorial Administration faction of the French Senate
Patrick Kanner, President of the Socialist and Environmental Republican faction of the French Senate
Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, President of the “France-Armenia” friendship group of the French Senate
Pierre Ouzoulias, Senator