Armenian cacophony instead of Francophonie
Pashinyan's verbiage back in action
ANALYTICS 22 November 2022 - 20:35
The 18th Summit of Francophonie, the international organisation of French-speaking countries, was held recently in the Tunisian city of Djerba. The Prime Minister of Armenia, which is a member of the organisation, but has no relation to the French language, except for a special fondness for French names, Nikol Pashinyan, who flew to Tunisia, addressed the forum. Pashinyan's speech was supposedly at odds with the format of the summit but was in line with the Armenian agenda of preventing a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
In other words, the Armenian leader rushed to Djerba to tell the participants of the international event about the "terrible" situation on the notional Armenian-Azerbaijani border due to Baku's "aggressive intentions". Obviously, he expressed the opinion of the Armenian side alone, without backing it up with anything other than far-fetched narratives. However, it seems that at the current Francophone gathering the problems of the French-speaking countries were put aside - it was necessary to sympathise with Armenia and support its interpretation of events.
Naturally, the Armenian envoys in Tunisia were not ashamed to tearfully assure everyone that they were "peace-loving" and that Azerbaijan did not want real peace, refusing to compromise because it wanted to annex "historic Armenian lands". In general, the initiative to discuss the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement at the Francophone summit can hardly be called constructive for the member countries of the organisation, and for Armenia itself. However, it would be naive to expect Pashinyan and his team to give a fair assessment of the process of resolving Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, especially in the margins of such a specific event, where representatives of countries, most of which are not very friendly with Azerbaijan and are very supportive of Armenia, have gathered.
Pashinyan obviously wanted to test the rise of national spirit in a favourable environment, forgetting that only two years ago it ended very badly for the Armenian people. Apparently, he is trying to escalate the conflict again, not realising that his utopian preconditions and absurd interpretation of the peace treaty are in fact a pretext for a resumption of hostilities. It is possible that this is exactly what the Armenian leader is trying to achieve.
In his bravura speech, Pashinyan said that "the principles of the UN Charter, in particular the principle of the non-use of force against the territorial integrity of another state, on which our collective security is based, have been undermined, and thus the law of the strongest is gradually rising". It must be said that there is some truth in Pashinyan's words: the principles of the UN Charter were indeed undermined by the Karabakh conflict, not today, but in 1992-2020 when Armenia occupied 20% of Azerbaijani territories, carried out ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijani people, committed the Khojaly genocide and bombed Azerbaijani civilian cities.
Moreover, for 30 years the Armenian side has been violating all existing international conventions, cynically ignoring UN resolutions and staging all kinds of provocations on the border. Civilians still suffer from anti-personnel mines planted by the Armenian occupants on Azerbaijani lands. Nearly 3000 people have fallen victim to landmines during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, 525 of whom were killed. The fact of non-observance to the UN Charter is also the state policy of Armenia to destroy the traces of Azerbaijanis both in the history of Azerbaijani lands it has occupied and in the territory of its country, where Azerbaijanis have lived since ancient times. In other words, attempts were made to distort the history of the Azerbaijani people, to wipe out its cultural heritage.
Of course, there was not even a hint about all this at the Francophonie summit, but the topics of "Azerbaijanis' perfidy" and "annexationist policy of their country" were hotly debated.
Pashinyan, inspired by the Francophone welcome, kept ratcheting up anti-Azerbaijani rhetoric: "The aggression of which the Republic of Armenia became a victim on September 13-14 of this year by Azerbaijan is a perfect illustration of this state of affairs. Unjustified and unprovoked aggression led to the occupation of certain parts of the territory of Armenia, as well as to the death, and suffering of the civilian population and significant destruction. We expect that in the face of these new threats, the international community will rightly assess the situation in our country today, condemn the occupation of a part of Armenia's territory, and demand the return of Azerbaijani forces to their previous positions. Armenia, for its part, is firmly committed to advancing the negotiation process towards a peace agreement with Azerbaijan, as well as ensuring the rights and security of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh."
Pashinyan's statement suggests that Armenia traditionally relies on the international community while putting forward demands that are unacceptable to Azerbaijan. However, according to the premier, in order to reach a peace agreement Baku must meet Yerevan's demands, i.e. withdraw its troops from the conditional border and agree to discuss the "status of Karabakh" with the separatists. In short, Pashinyan voiced a set of Armenian requirements, and a person unfamiliar with the situation would think that Armenia won the war and is now dictating the terms of the peace agreement.
Meanwhile, the very meaning of Pashinyan's Francophone speeches does not at all correspond to the essence of the conversation held a month ago in Prague between the president of Azerbaijan and the Armenian prime minister. Moreover, if the Armenian leadership considers itself democratic and speaks out about the establishment of peaceful conditions, it must conduct itself in accordance with democratic values and the rule of law. First, Armenia must withdraw from the occupied Azerbaijani territories its armed formations, as required by the paragraphs of the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, and decisions of authoritative international organizations. As long as Yerevan engages in verbiage instead of taking real steps toward an Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement, the risk of a military solution to the issue remains high. Unless Armenia acts in accordance with its obligations and the position of the international community, removes its fighters and saboteurs from the Azerbaijani territories where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is temporarily deployed, and stops provocations on the notional Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Baku will have the right to choose methods for overcoming the disagreement. Two years ago, Azerbaijan already proved that it can solve the problem of 30 years ago in 44 days, but today Armenia does not have even those four dozen days for a constructive solution. And the sooner the Armenian political establishment finally draws conclusions, the better for its people.
All the more so because even among Francophones, Pashinyan has not achieved what he wanted. As Ilham Aliyev said the day before, at an event dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party, "As a result of the efforts of our friends in the Francophonie organisation – we know them well and they are our friends in the true sense of the word – all anti-Azerbaijani theses were removed from there. The French-Armenian tandem failed to use this opportunity."
Maybe at least this will properly motivate the Armenian authorities and set them up to be constructive in taking decisions on resolving relations with Azerbaijan.
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