Five members of France’s parliament representing the ruling Socialist Party have visited Nagorno-Karabakh and the nearby Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” on what they described as a fact-finding mission.
The delegation headed by Bruno Le Roux, the leader of the Socialist majority in the French National Assembly, walked through Karabakh Armenian army trenches and monitored the ceasefire regime at a section of the heavily fortified frontline east of the disputed territory. A short statement issued by the Karabakh Defense Army on Saturday said the lawmakers familiarized themselves with the “specificities of bearing combat duty” there.
It was not clear whether they held any talks with Karabakh leaders in Stepanakert. The press office of Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, reported no such talks.
Le Roux and the fellow deputies accompanying him met with President Serzh Sarkisian in Yerevan on Friday. The French Socialist leader said afterwards that the purpose of their trip to Karabakh is to receive more first-hand information about the current state of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
“Our purpose is to go to Karabakh not to dictate anything or do any provocations but to forge close and friendly links with that place,” Le Roux told reporters in Yerevan, according to Yerkir.am.
French lawmakers, most of them with close ties to France’s influential Armenian community, visit Karabakh on a regular basis despite vehement protests from Azerbaijan. Many of them have been blacklisted by Baku as a result.
Their latest trip to Karabakh was organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), a left-wing pan-Armenian party that has a warm rapport with the French Socialists.