BAKU: Azerbaijan Sends Protest To France Over Karabakh Leader’s Visi


ANS TV, Baku
9 Jun 04

(Presenter) Azerbaijan has sent a protest note to France. The reason
for this step by the Baku government is a visit to France by the leader
of the Armenian community of Nagornyy Karabakh, Arkadiy Gukasyan, to
attend cultural events to mark the 10th anniversary of the cease-fire
in the first Karabakh war.

(Reporter) The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has sent a protest note to
the French Foreign Ministry. The head of the ministry’s press service,
Matin Mirza, said that the reason for this step was a visit to France
by the leader of the Armenian community of Nagornyy Karabakh, Arkadiy
Gukasyan. Matin Mirza also said that Gukasyan’s French tour could
not be regarded as an official visit.

(Matin Mirza) Gukasyan was invited to France by the Armenian
Association of France. As was the case earlier, the Foreign Ministry
has investigated so-called visits more than once. As a result, it
transpired that in general, no representative of the separatist regime
has ever paid an official visit abroad, and those were private visits.

(Reporter) Matin Mirza believes that Gukasyan has gone to France
to raise money. His visit cannot be explained otherwise. He himself
admitted at a meeting with (OSCE envoy for Karabakh Goran) Lennmarker
that no country was rendering financial assistance to the unrecognized
regime of Nagornyy Karabakh. It seems that the goal of Gukasyan’s
visit to France is to get financial assistance for the separatist
regime, end quote.

Matin Mirza also commented on the forthcoming municipal elections
of Nagornyy Karabakh’s Armenian community on our occupied lands on
8 August. He said that as a result of persistent interventions and
contacts established by the Foreign Ministry, no elections held
by Nagornyy Karabakh separatists so far have been internationally
recognized. Matin Mirza is still optimistic.

(Matin Mirza) In this connection, the Foreign Ministry and our
diplomatic channels have already contacted international organizations
and held consultations with them. We are confident that as was the case
in previous years, this time again both international organizations
and world countries will condemn any elections held in the self-styled
Nagornyy Karabakh republic.

(Reporter) The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that no official foreign
observers would monitor the forthcoming municipal elections in Nagornyy
Karabakh, which is Azerbaijani territory. Those who will monitor the
so-called elections are Armenians who once moved abroad, end quote.