Azerbaijan denies any links to riots in New Caledonia

  • 17 May, 10:16

Azerbaijan has denied French Interior Minister's accusations of supporting rioters against French rule in New Caledonia.
In a statement on Friday, the Foreign Ministry denied any relations between Azerbaijan and pro-independence leaders in New Caledonia, a French territory between Australia and Fiji in the Pacific. “We once again strongly condemn the French side’s insulting expressions against Azerbaijan and urge to stop the smear campaign against Azerbaijan with unacceptable accusations,” the ministry’s statement reads. The ministry advised the French minister to “focus on his country’s failed policy towards the overseas territories that led to such protests.” The ministry also recalled France’s colonial past, such as “committing crimes against humanity toward local peoples and the brutal murder of millions of innocent people as part of its colonial policy implemented for many years.”

The statement was in response to French Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin’s remarks that some of the Caledonian pro-independence leaders have made a deal with Azerbaijan. In an interview with France-2 on Thursday Darmanin said Azerbaijan’s links to unrests in New Caledonia “isn’t a fantasy. It’s a reality.” 

At least five people were killed as pro-independence rioters took to the streets of New Caledonia causing unrest in the region.Images shared on social media and broadcast on the French channel TF1 on Wednesday showed some pro-independence supporters wearing T-shirts bearing the Azerbaijani flag.

On Thursday, Baku organized a video conference “in solidarity with people in New Caledonia” with the participation of representatives of “movements fighting for independence” in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Corsica, all French overseas territories.  The organizer of the conference, The Baku Initiative Group, was set up on 6 July 2023 by participants of a conference “Towards the complete elimination of colonialism” held in Baku, with the stated aim of supporting groups that were fighting for freedom from colonialism. 

It should be noted that the unrest in New Caledonia erupted after lawmakers in Paris voted to change electoral rolls to allow more French residents to vote. Under the amendment to the French constitution, residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years will be allowed to cast ballots in provincial elections.

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