Go up France or Visit of the third stage
2017 March 16 ( Saturday ) 16:14:15
The official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to France can be called a landmark. For this there are grounds of chronological nature, which to some extent clarify not only the meaning of the visit itself, but the entire role of France in the history of the formation of Azerbaijani statehood after the collapse of the USSR.
France can be called a representative of European politics not only in Azerbaijan, but throughout the Southern Caucasus, which has clearly manifested itself in a number of global projects and crises, including energy, communication, the Karabakh conflict, Russia's aggression against Georgia.
It is noteworthy that, paying tribute to this South Caucasian role of Paris, official Baku emphatically diplomatically built the vector of its European policy, recognizing France as the basic reference point for political dialogue at each stage of development. President Heydar Aliyev made his first foreign official visit after coming to power in June 1993 in France in December of the same year. Ilham Aliyev, as president, made his first foreign official visit to France in January 2004. And now Mehriban Aliyeva as the first vice-president, who is considered the real successor of her husband, makes her first visit to France as a vice president. It is also impossible not to notice that her vice-presidential appointment was preceded by the visit of the French Secretary of State for State Reform and Simplification Jean-Vansana Place on February 9.
Particular attention at this stage is paid to strengthening and expanding the activity of the simplified access service to ASAN documents, which gradually, but consistently penetrates into all the pores of the state system of Azerbaijan, and becomes the main tool of combating corruption for the present at the domestic level. It is no coincidence that memorandums of understanding were signed during the visit between the ASAN State Agency and the Secretariat for State Reforms under the French Prime Minister; On cooperation between the Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Digital Technologies of France; The State Committee for Urban Development of the Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Development of France, which are in the curricula of Aliyeva.
It should also be noted that the Azerbaijani-French relations are initially
based on European initiatives. For example, the "Charter of Paris", which is one of the main contracts of the CSCE (now the OSCE), which provides for the transition of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics to democracy and a market economy. The next ongoing initiative is the Eastern Partnership Program, which opens the stage of deeper integration of the post-Soviet countries into Europe. At the meeting, special attention was paid to this issue, and Paris got another assurances from Aliyev about the readiness to conclude the Agreement on Strategic Partnership in November this year.
In his turn, Aliyev also tried to enlist the support of Paris in the Karabakh issue, based on France's important role in the European security system and its direct participation in the Karabakh conflict settlement as a co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Of Aliyev's two speeches: at a dinner at the Elysee Palace and at a joint press conference of the presidents following the meeting, it was clear that he strongly reminded Paris of the need to observe European security principles, including the inviolability of borders and the humanitarian side of the issue. From the words of President Hollande it was clear that Paris was not ready at this stage to force a solution to the problem, primarily because the parties to the conflict and the mediators were not ready for a compromise.
From Aliyev's point of view it could be understood that he ignored the development of democracy and civil liberties, but Hollande’s obliviousness to the topic of human rights for Azerbaijan was somewhat uncharacteristic for the head of state - presenting himself as the cradle of European democracy. Only at the end of his welcoming speech did the French president speak about the need for an "exchange in the field of human rights", but from this it was not clear who to whom or to whom.
The reason for this is probably in the interests of Paris, which wants to maintain stability in Azerbaijan and the region in the period of the realization of the goals and tasks mentioned above. In the same part of Hollande’s drinking speech, the last chord was the invitation to "work together for a safe and stable future in the region." This topic, reinforced by the call to fight international terrorism, is more likely to determine the vector of bilateral relations in the near future.