Senator André Reichardt: peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a priority for the next French President

Paris, 29 March 2017: Responding to an invitation from the Paris branch of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), Senator André Reichardt has shared his views concerning the foreign policy priorities for the next French President. This statement has been published in La Revue du Trombinoscope – a French political magazine with a circulation of 15,000 – that dedicated its March issue to the recommendations to candidates to the French presidency regarding the future of French foreign policy.

Writing as President of the France–Caucasus Friendship Group in the Senate, he stated: “The peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be a priority for the next French President.” He underlined that, after 25 years of Franco–Azerbaijani diplomatic collaboration, he is impressed by the high level of co-operation in various fields, most notably in the spheres of collective security, energy and economic collaboration.

However, Senator Reichardt observed that, despite these good relations, and the status of France one of the three OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – tasked with establishing a negotiated peace in the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh – Azerbaijan has great difficulties in making its perspective heard in France due to certain strong lobbies. 

With this in mind, he called the next French President to show an “exemplary objectivity” in this realm. He underlined that this conflict needs to be peacefully resolved as soon as possible, as it impacts the “political and economic stability of the region” – at the doors of the European Union.

Senator Reichardt also stated that this conflict has had deep ramifications for Azerbaijan. Due to the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding territories, the country has to deal with nearly one million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), whose only hope is to return to their lands, in peace with their neighbours, as was previously the case.

Senator Reichardt ended his statement by reiterating his proposal to push for inter-parliamentary discussions with both Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in the French Senate in an attempt to “move the discussions forward” – a proposal made recently in the margins of the official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to France in mid-March.