France requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council on this matter, given the seriousness of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. After weeks of massive troop and military material, Azerbaijan decided on September 19 to launch a large-scale military operation, an operation that mobilized land and aerial means on a massive scale and affected the civilian population. Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, said during the emergency session of the UN Security Council.
"An operation that no one can believe was not premeditated, even though efforts to find a negotiated solution were intensifying and the day before, the supply of humanitarian aid was restored for the first time in 3 months," she said.
According to Colonna, France immediately directly condemned that unacceptable attack, which contradicts the principle of peaceful resolution of conflicts established by the UN Charter.
"We are not the only country that thinks this way. A number of countries around this table have also robustly refused this violence and arbitrary behavior, calling on Azerbaijan to maintain restraint and respect international law. As expected, the result of this move was particularly heavy, with hundreds of wounded and dozens of deaths, including civilians, amongst them several children. A ceasefire was announced yesterday. It was indispensable, and it is essential that it is to be respected.
The issue of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity is not being questioned; no one is questioning it; it is not being threatened, says the French Foreign Minister. "What is at stake is the possibility of Armenian people in Nagorno-Karabakh to be able to continue to live there and their rights and culture are respected. Such a guarantee cannot exist when the stronger party exercises deliberate force against the weaker and when Nagorno-Karabakh is under blockade for a long time, and the population has been prevented the population from getting food, medicine, and electricity.
France takes note of President Aliyev's statements made yesterday, in which he confirms his willingness to live in peaceful conditions with Nagorno-Karabakh and protect their rights.
"These words show the commitment of Azerbaijan, today they are responsible for the fate of the population. If Azerbaijan really wants to reach a peaceful and negotiated solution, it should provide tangible guarantees now and here. It must act in good faith and not use force or threaten to use force, and recognize that this dialogue is about guarantees to the population with the support of the international community.
It must ensure the amnesty for the forces that have accepted the ceasefire should immediately and unconditionally restore traffic through the Lachin Corridor in accordance with the decision of the International Court of Justice. In addition, Azerbaijan should agree to the international humanitarian presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is necessary considering the approach of winter. Without these guarantees, there can be no solution," Colonna emphasized.
It is not the first time that France has alerted this council about the seriousness of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the minister reminded. "It is not the first time that we have called on the establishment to concentrate efforts to avoid human tragedy and further destabilization of the situation in the South Caucasus. The events of the last few days have confirmed this fact, we cannot remain passive and turn our eyes from what is currently happening in Nagorno-Karabakh, because if we were to do that, we would be an accomplice to the massive exodus of the population that has already suffered so much. There has been a lot of information, as you know, about the displacements and the preparations for this operation, and more than 10 percent of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh was displaced due to the offensive by Azerbaijan on the 19th of September.
This Council must continue actively to take steps to resolve this crisis, and it must defend the principles of the UN Charter by providing active support in establishing the conditions for a diplomatic solution for Baku and Nagorno-Karabakh. International law must be respected at all times and everywhere," she said.
We must be vigilant in trying to involve Armenia in these tragic events and using them as an excuse to question the country's territorial integrity, Colonna stressed: "In recent months, Prime Minister Pashinyan has shown responsibility, his wish to see a de-escalation and commitment to find a negotiated solution with Azerbaijan, based on the recognition and respect of the territorial integrity of both countries, with clearly defined and demilitarized borders.
France is mobilized and we will continue to be so, within this council and other related bodies, to work in the direction of ensuring stable peace in the South Caucasus for the benefit of all the peoples of the region. We are ready to work with all those who are following the same goal," she concluded her speech.