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French Senate Calls For Karabakh’s Recognition


France -- French senators stand during a moment of silence in tribute to the victims of French Senate Calls For Karabakh’s Recognitionexplosions at the airport and metro in Brussels, March 22, 2016.

In a resolution hailed by Armenia, France’s upper house of parliament, the Senate, called on the French government on Wednesday to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.

The resolution also describes the recent war in Karabakh as an Azerbaijani aggression supported by Turkey and foreign mercenaries. It urges Azerbaijan’s withdrawal from territory seized during the six-week fighting stopped by a Russian-mediated ceasefire on November 10.

The measure introduced by five pro-Armenian senators was passed by 305 votes to 1 despite being opposed by the French government. A government representative warned before the vote that it would undermine France’s role as one of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group trying to broker a solution to the Karabakh conflict.

Armenia was quick to welcome the resolution, with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian calling it “historic.”

“Artsakh’s international recognition is entering the international agenda,” Pashinian wrote on Facebook.

For its part, the Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed hope that the French lower house and other foreign parliaments will pass similar measures.

Karabakh’s independence from Azerbaijan, declared in 1991, has not been recognized by any country, including Armenia.

Predictably, Azerbaijan condemned the Senate resolution. President Ilham Aliyev’s office dismissed it as a mere “piece of paper” that cannot influence the Karabakh negotiating process or the situation on the ground.

Aliyev repeatedly accused Paris of pro-Armenian bias during the six-week war. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov echoed those claims in an interview with the French weekly Le Point published earlier on Wednesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Azerbaijan’s military action in Karabakh shortly after the outbreak of the war on September 27. Macron has been even more critical of Turkey’s strong political and military support for Baku.

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