"It's not worth waiting for thaw in Baku-Paris relations under Macron"
    Russian historian Igor Ignatchenko talks to Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  07 February 2023 - 11:00

    Huseyn Safarov

    Just a few days ago, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, at a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, said that Brussels highly appreciates Azerbaijan's support and assistance and expressed readiness to expand cooperation with it in the energy sector. In October 2022, at the opening ceremony of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector in Sofia, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that by 2027 Baku plans to double annual natural gas supplies to Europe to 20 billion cubic metres and more. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, who was present at the ceremony, called Azerbaijan a reliable and key partner of the EU.

    On the contrary, French senator Bruno Retailleau called the plans on the expansion of energy cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan "a stab in the back of the Armenians". In France, this opinion is shared by a number of politicians bribed by the rich Armenian diaspora.

    In order to clarify the reasons for this provocative statement, made at the behest of Armenian propagandists and the possible reaction of the EU to such statements, Caliber.Az spoke to Igor Ignatchenko, Ph.D. in History, an expert in French studies, Associate Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities under the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    Ignatchenko recalled that French Senator Retailleau, who represents the "Republicans" party in the Senate, is one of the leading lobbyists of the pro-Armenian policy of France in the South Caucasus.

    "Retailleau is also chairman of the French Senate's international information group on Nagorno-Karabakh and was one of the main initiators of the adoption by the upper house of the French parliament in 2020 of a resolution 'recognising the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh'," Ignatchenko said.

    According to the Russian political analyst, there are lobbying groups defining Armenian interests in the Senate which try to put pressure on the French government. He is also sure that the statements of some French politicians do not necessarily reflect the official position of the French President and his Government.

    Another thing is that in France they see Azerbaijan as a proxy of Türkiye with which France has had very tense, almost hostile relations in recent years, Ignatchenko emphasized.

    "The situation is further complicated by the extremely low quality of personal relations between French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Therefore, during the years of Macron's presidency, it was difficult to assume a serious improvement in relations between France and Azerbaijan," the expert believes.

    The candidate of historical sciences at the same time noted that now it is difficult to say whether the European Union authorities will take a pro-Armenian position, which may automatically interrupt energy cooperation with Azerbaijan.

    "Firstly, statements of individual politicians cannot be considered an official position of Paris yet, therefore, at this stage, the French government will hardly pressure the European Union so that Brussels refuses to sign agreements with Baku. In addition, the EU is now concerned about energy security and the diversification of energy suppliers. It remains to be seen how this pragmatic approach will continue in the future. However, I think it is premature to talk about the confrontation between France and the EU on the issue of energy cooperation with Azerbaijan," Ignatchenko summed up.


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