The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry criticised the French Senate for passing a “biased” and “provocative” resolution that offers recognition of the so-called "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.”
The French Senate adopted a resolution on Wednesday to recognise Nagorno-Karabakh as an "independent Republic", despite the region being internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
France's unsolicited resolution is even out of step with Armenia's stance on Nagorno-Karabakh, as Yerevan does not recognise it as an independent domain.
Azerbaijan recently liberated several parts of Nagorno-Karabakh from decades-long Armenian occupation. On July 29, 1993, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution, demanding "complete and unconditional withdrawal" of the occupying Armenian forces from the disputed region. But Armenia dithered.
In the past three months, as an Azerbaijani offensive broke the Armenian stranglehold on Nagorno-Karabakh, liberating vast swathes of its territory, France upped its ante against Turkey, Azerbaijan’s main ally, accusing Ankara of "intervening" in the conflict.
On the other hand, France continues to be gripped by a climate of hatred, with its government facing international criticism for passing draconian laws aimed at marginalising the country's Muslims.
Amid the debate over the Macron administration's sharp turn towards a far-right agenda, 305 French senators out of 306 voted for the controversial resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh. It serves only as a recommendation, however, and does not require the government to move on the results.
"[The Senate] urges the French government to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and use this recognition as a tool in the talks to establish lasting peace," the approved document stated.
The Senate called for an immediate withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces from territories liberated from Armenian occupation.
Despite the recent political move of the senate, the French Secretary of State at the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, said that "unilateral recognition of Karabakh will do no good for anyone."
Lemoyne also said it won’t contribute to mediation efforts between Azerbaijan and Armenia, who reached a truce on November 10 after six-weeks of clashes.
French Senate’s ‘provocative’ and ‘biased’ move
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry rejected the resolution, calling it "biased" and "provocative."
"First of all, we would like to note that the proposal for a resolution on 'the need to recognise the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic' adopted by the French Senate was put forward by a group of overtly pro-Armenian senators," the ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.
"The adoption of a completely biased resolution by the Senate can only be considered as a provocation."
The Azerbaijani ministry also said it "casts doubt on the neutrality" of the country with a mediating role.
"It also undermines France's reputation as a fair mediator in the Azerbaijani society," it added.
The Azerbaijani officials also suggested that engagement in “ activities that serve peace, stability and progress in the region” to the French Senate rather than passing biased resolutions.
Azerbaijan wants France out of Minsk group
Azerbaijani lawmakers on Thursday called for France to be expelled from a group mediating in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute after the French Senate backed the breakaway region's independence claim.
In a resolution adopted on Thursday, Azerbaijani lawmakers urged the government to appeal to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) -- which oversees the Minsk Group -- to expel France from its presidency.
France along with Russia and the United States co-chairs the Minsk Group, which has led talks seeking a solution to the conflict for decades but has failed to achieve a lasting agreement.
Azerbaijan also gives a diplomatic note to France over recent biased action.
They also urged Baku to revise its "political... and economic relations" with France.
French Senate acts against international law
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions have continued to demand the withdrawal of occupying Armenian forces.
When new clashes erupted on 27 September, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, violating humanitarian ceasefire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered agreement on 10 November to end fighting and work towards a comprehensive solution.