Baku, Azerbaijan, June 18
Azerbaijan is an ally of France in keeping the peace in the South Caucasus, Nathalie Goulet, the member of the French Senate, said in an interview with the opinion-internationale.com website.
She said some critics claim that "the democratic values are not recognized in Azerbaijan."
Goulet said Azerbaijan is a young country, which once again gained the independence 24 years ago.
The senator also spoke about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as a result of which people are still being killed.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Goulet said Azerbaijan is working with the Council of Europe on the issue of improving the democratic values.
"Nothing can be built in one day," she said. "The election process has improved [in Azerbaijan]. Of course, there are still problems. However, the anti-Azerbaijan campaign is already irritating, and it is not constructive."
"All the European countries and Israel are taking part in the first-ever European Games in a country, which is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation," Goulet underscored.
She also recalled that the Armenian athletes are also taking part in the European Games. The European Games that kicked off in Baku June 12, will last till June 28. Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.
The senator stressed that Azerbaijan is a geo-strategic ally of Europe.
"Azerbaijan is the only country in the South Caucasus, which keeps the real sovereignty," said Goulet. "This country is also an important trading partner of France and cooperates with it in the oil, gas and agricultural sectors."
The French senator also said Azerbaijan is developing rapidly.
"In 1921, women in Azerbaijan were granted the right to vote. Azerbaijan is a secular country. Azerbaijan has the Jewish community, the Christian church," she said.
"Despite Azerbaijan being a Muslim country, it has established close diplomatic contacts with Israel. There has never been anti-Semitism. Azerbaijan is fighting against radical religious movements," Goulet added.