The decision of the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise of the French Val-d’Oise department to declare invalid a declaration of friendship between the French municipality of Arnuville and Artsakh’s community of Shekher is deeply regrettable. This decision may become a wrong political signal to Azerbaijan, which has already interpreted the judgement of the French court as support for its policy of isolation of Artsakh. Such a development, in turn, may cause concern to the Armenian public and cast a shadow on the position of France as a neutral mediator in resolving the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict.
In this regard, we would like to emphasize that France, as one of the three OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, bears a certain responsibility for ensuring that the people of Artsakh, due to the unresolved conflict, are not restricted in exercising their fundamental rights, including the right to development.
The decentralized co-operation between the municipalities of Artsakh and France in no way contradicts either the international obligations of France or its efforts as an international mediator in the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict. In particular, the temporary non-recognition of the Republic of Artsakh does not mean that its citizens should be limited in participation in international co-operation. The legitimacy of the participation of unrecognized states in such co-operation has been confirmed by international arbitration practice and has been recognized by international courts.
Being convinced that decentralized co-operation between municipalities and creating conditions for communication between people are an important contribution to strengthening peace and stability, the authorities of the Artsakh Republic will continue to make every effort so that citizens of the Republic can fully take advantage of international co-operation to realize their potential.
We express our deep appreciation to the mayor and residents of Arnuville, as well as other cities of France, the United States, Brazil, Lebanon and other countries that have established friendly relations with the municipalities and communities of Artsakh.
We also welcome the determination of Mr. Pascal Doll, Mayor of Arnuville, to appeal the decision of the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise.
Despite the obstacles imposed by Azerbaijan, Artsakh’s international ties will continue to expand and deepen. In this regard, Artsakh makes consistent efforts to expand the geography of decentralized co-operation. In particular, proposals for signing new declarations on friendship and co-operation between the communities of Artsakh and administrative units in various countries are under discussion.