Faced with the departure of Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Leila Abdulleva was called on the set of BFMTV, affirming that “it is the will of the people not to stay.”
Within days, 93,000 people, or three-quarters of the Nagorno-Karabakh region’s 120,000 official citizens, fled their homes, Armenian officials said. Hovhannès Gevorgyan, the representative of Nagorno-Karabakh in France, who is a guest on the BFMTV set this Saturday evening, talks about “genuine genocide”. On the same plateau, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to France, Leyla Abdulleva, refuses.
“It’s not ethnic cleansing, you can’t accuse Azerbaijan of baseless things,” he exclaims, asserting that “it’s time to get rid of false talk.”
According to him, the departure of Armenians from this territory is “the will of the people not to stay”. “They were not forced” to leave.
The day after the dissolution of the self-proclaimed separatist republic was announced, “people decided to leave the Nagorno-Karabakh region,” confirms Leila Abdulleva, who recalls that the region is “a sovereign land” of Baku. International community.
Fear of retaliation
“The fact is that the government of Azerbaijan has asked the Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh not to leave their place of residence,” he adds.
Armenians say they fear reprisals: The predominantly Christian region, which broke away from majority-Muslim Azerbaijan following the collapse of the Soviet Union, has resisted Baku for more than three decades.
Armenians are “fleeing death,” says Hovhannes Gevorgyan.
Azerbaijan’s ambassador to France, for his part, underlines that “it’s normal to have a lack of trust between two peoples” because we are coming out of three years of hostilities.
“We’re not going to change the situation overnight,” he says.
Negotiations are planned
“We proposed to hold a dialogue with the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians. We have already held meetings between representatives of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians and the central authority of Azerbaijan for better communication and problem solving,” he explains.
Talks between Azerbaijani officials and those in charge of the enclave are scheduled for Monday in Stepanakert, AFP reported.
However, France expressed regret this Saturday that Baku had not agreed to “send a humanitarian assessment mission to Nagorno-Karabakh” from the United Nations.
“No one believes in the possibility of two communities living together. Neither the Armenians nor the Azeris are ready for this option,” Bayram Balsi, a researcher at Sciences Po in France, told AFP.
The self-proclaimed separatist republic of Nagorno-Karabakh announced its dissolution on January 1, 2024, after the Baku-led blitzkrieg – which killed nearly 600 people – and surrendered on September 20.
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