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Azerbaijan Protests French Deputies' Visit To Nagorno-Karabakh

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BAKU/YEREVAN -- Baku has lodged a formal protest with the French Foreign Ministry over an ongoing visit to the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh by four French parliament deputies, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The members of the French National Assembly headed by Guy Teissier arrived in the breakaway region on August 22.

Speaking in Nagorno-Karabakh's de facto parliament later that day, Teissier, who is a member of France's ruling Union For A Popular Movement (UMP), described the trip as a gesture of "solidarity."

The four met today with Bako Sahakian, the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev told RFE/RL the Azerbaijani authorities were not informed in advance about the visit, which he said showed disrespect for Azerbaijan's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Abdullayev said a second letter of protest had been sent to the French National Assembly, and the four deputies had been declared persona non grata in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan's Trend news agency quoted Azerbaijan's ambassador to France, Elchin Amirbekov, as saying the French Foreign Ministry had already responded to the protest.

Amirbekov quoted the ministry as saying the four lawmakers traveled to the disputed territory in their individual capacity and did not represent the French National Assembly.

A statement today on the ministry's website said the members' trip did not reflect a change in France's position on Nagorno-Karabakh. France, Russia, and the United States -- the co-chairs of the OSCE's Minsk group -- have been trying to mediate a solution to the dispute.

France is home to the largest Armenian diaspora community in Europe.

The Azerbaijani government has already blacklisted five other French parliament deputies who visited Nagorno-Karabakh in June 2010. The trip was initiated by Francois Rochebloine, the pro-Armenian deputy chairman of the assembly's Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian-majority enclave located within Azerbaijani borders. Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a brutal six-year war over the territory that ended only with a cease-fire in 1994, but the enclave's final status remains unresolved.

Read more in Azeri here
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by: George from: United States
August 23, 2011 17:24
Nagorno-Karabakh is a free country. Every one is welcomed there. Next is the president.
In Response

by: Taxpayer from: USA
August 24, 2011 01:19

Gaddafi is down - Sultan Ilham Heydar-ogly Alieyv of Bazaarbaijan is NEXT!!

by: Anita from: Manchester
August 23, 2011 21:35
It's time to recognise Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia. It's time to solve problems of South Caucasus. There republics deserve independence more than Kosovo.

by: Shah of Iran from: Persia
August 23, 2011 22:00
Dear rfe/rl ladies & gentlemen,Artsakh,or the place you call Karabagh has its own 25 centuries old history.It is as breakaway ,as the USA is a breakaway from`great` britain.Why refuse others what the american constitution &bill of rights &declaration of independance promised the people of the land of the free & home of the brave ???Yes,America was damn good country as a great american writer used to say,but something happened on its way to nowhere , turning it into a land of double standards,moral relativism &downright hypocrisy???Please send my best regards to your favourite breakaway from Persia region of ali babalievstan.and yer favourite ally - cold turkey,bragging of killing hundreds of kurds today with the full support of its western `civilization` overlords -it seems your `civilization` cannot function well without the blood of the natives.

by: Felipe Muñoz from: Santiago, Chile
August 23, 2011 23:19
Yeah, AZ has nothing to do in what the people can do in Nagorno-Karabakh... Aliyev, just focus your iron fist in YOUR people; not in the people of Artsakh, they are free from your regime.. so STAY AWAY.. and forget about who is going to Stepanakert., its not your business.
In Response

by: Shah of Iran from: Persia
August 24, 2011 12:23
Dear Felipe,dont insult the great leader of the world`s gay community comrade Babaliev hasn`t got an iron fist-his gloves may be iron,but his hands &cells are as soft as the sheep & goats he used to herd before they made him a ..president of the breakaway persian province of azeristan.Can you tell me of another pinko president in the world today - I bet you cant - allahtan erdogan may be but he`s only a prime minister.So,hands off our christopher steet hero the best things he may try to focus are his hind-parts.,if he can find them,movable as they are.

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