Shusha is cradle of Azerbaijani culture - Honorary French MP (INTERVIEW)

Politics Materials 14 November 2020 11:06 (UTC +04:00)
Shusha is cradle of Azerbaijani culture - Honorary French MP (INTERVIEW)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov.14

By Samid Nasirov - Trend:

President of the Association of Friends of Azerbaijan in France, Honorary Member of the French Parliament Jean-Francois Mancel gave an interview to Trend News Agency.

- Mr. Mancel, despite the fact that France is one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, in recent times it has not been neutral in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. In recent statements, the French administration has stated that "France is with the Armenians." I would like to know from what point of view you approach this issue?

- French officials are under strong pressure from the large Armenian community of the country, on the other hand, relations with the Turkish president are strained. In this situation, some of the officials make distortions in their conclusions regarding the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. They forget that Azerbaijan is only liberating its territories, which for almost 30 years, contrary to international law and UN resolutions, remained under occupation. I regret to note that France is reacting unfairly to this issue. But, despite all this, there are strong ties between France and Azerbaijan, and our friendship continues.

- In the statement of the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs dated November 7, 2020, the name of the city of Shusha, which dates back to the Karabakh Khanate, is used as ‘Shushi’. How would you comment on this statement?

- I hope that the use of this Armenian name of the Azerbaijani city in this statement was not intentional. I myself was very happy learning that Shusha was liberated because the city is the cradle of Azerbaijani culture. Every time on May 8, I reminded that we are celebrating our victory (Europe Day is the day of peace for the French and German peoples), however, May 8 is also a tragic date, when in 1992 the city of Shusha was captured by the Armenians. Now Shusha is free and my Azerbaijani friends will return to their homes.

- On November 10, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Armenia signed a statement declaring a complete ceasefire in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. How do you assess the role of the OSCE Minsk Group after the signing of this act, and, in your opinion, what role will France play in this group from now on?

- First of all, the most important thing is that the liberated territories are under the protection of the international community, like the territory of Azerbaijan, and that the Azerbaijanis displaced from these lands return there in the near future. Then, if we want to create a just and lasting peace, it is necessary to begin the reconciliation of both peoples.

France is the co-chair of the Minsk Group, along with Russia and the US. It is clear that lately this group has not been distinguished for any successful activity.

Following over a month of military action to liberate its territories from Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan has pushed Armenia to sign the surrender document. A joint statement on the matter was made by Azerbaijani president, Armenia's PM and the president of Russia.

A complete ceasefire and a cessation of all hostilities in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were introduced at 00:00 hours (Moscow time) on 10 November 2020.

Armenian Armed Forces launched a large-scale military attack on positions of Azerbaijani army on the front line, using large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery on Sept. 27. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-offensive along the entire front.

Back in July 2020, Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire in the direction of Azerbaijan's Tovuz district. As a result of Azerbaijan's retaliation, the opposing forces were silenced. The fighting continued the following days as well. Azerbaijan lost a number of military personnel members, who died fighting off the attacks of the Armenian Armed Forces.

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, Armenian Armed Forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.