"Why does France behave in our region in this way and not otherwise?" View from Baku
Erkin Gadirli on France’s Caucasus policy
France is one of Armenia’s traditional allies. The latest attempt by French officials to deliver humanitarian aid through the Lachin checkpoint to the Armenian population of Karabakh without appealing to official Baku has caused outrage in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani MP Erkin Gadirli analyzed France’s behavior in the South Caucasus try to make sense out of France’s policy.
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The confrontation between Paris and London
“Why does France behave in our region in this way and not in another way? I have spoken and written about it many times. I will note at once, we will talk not about reasons or reactions, but about interests,” Erkin Gadirli says.
According to the deputy, the main reason for Paris’ Caucasian policy is its confrontation with London:
“Everyone knows that France has a very long-standing (for several centuries) geopolitical confrontation with Britain. It did not stop even when France and Britain were allies and fought against common enemies. It seems that even now they are in an alliance (NATO). But alliances have never affected the essence of France’s policy towards Britain. The same can be said about British policy towards France. But we are interested in France here, because Britain is a friendly country to us, and France behaves clearly unfriendly towards Azerbaijan.
Why? What did France find in Armenia? Nothing!”
"Those who blame Azerbaijan with reference to Ocampo's conclusion are damaging their reputation." Comment from Baku
Azerbaijani MP Erkin Gadirli believes that the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, “gave empty hopes to Armenians” with his “significance for show”
“France is interested in its own interests in confronting Britain. This is France’s strategy. This strategy even has a name – “Fashoda syndrome”. It is named so because of the failed military adventure in Africa, when the French at the very end of the 19th century invaded the southern Sudan (Fashoda village), which was controlled by Britain, and then had to shamefully retreat without a fight.
Since then, the “Fashoda syndrome” has been a major determinant of French policy towards Britain. It can be summarized succinctly as not leaving Britain alone anywhere in the world. Where Britain is present, France must also be present,” Gadirli continues.
On French attempts to “enter” Azerbaijan
The MP emphasizes that Britain’s position in Azerbaijan is very strong. This can be easily observed in such areas as oil, gas, security, etc.
“The French have been trying to get a share in Azerbaijan’s economy for quite a long time, tried many different projects, but they could not strengthen their geopolitical positions. We should not forget that two French presidents (Sarkozy and Hollande) have visited Azerbaijan. But they failed to squeeze Britain.
The “Fashoda syndrome” has a backup option. If France fails to gain a foothold in a country where Britain is present, France must gain a foothold in a neighboring country. You can berate Macron all you want, but he is clearly acting according to the “Fashoda syndrome” – he is trying to strengthen France’s position in Armenia to prevent Britain from taking over the entire region. That is why France opposes the Zangezur corridor and acts to the detriment of Azerbaijan’s interests.”
“France won’t be here long.”
According to Gadirli, sooner or later France will have to leave the Caucasus region:
“So Armenia should not be deceived and build allied illusions about France. France will not be here for long, it will be forced to leave here just as it had to leave the South Sudanese village of Fashoda.
And that is because France is not building its own policy, it is adjusting to Britain’s policy. That is why France is so unprincipled in our region, playing into the hands of Iran and Russia”.