Will France recognise Georgia's territorial integrity?

14.05.24 19:24

An interesting photo has emerged from France of the mayor of Lyon, Gregory Doucet, posing with Armenian athletes in front of a map of "Greater Armenia" which "includes" not only the territories of Turkey and Azerbaijan, which has become a "cartographic tradition" among Armenian nationalists, but also Georgia.


This map immediately raises a number of questions. Is France questioning the territorial integrity of Georgia? With the mayor of Lyon, the third largest city in France (after Paris and Marseille), posing under the map, territorial claims to Georgia are immediately established. Samtskhe-Javakheti and part of Kvemo Kartli up to Tbilisi are shown as "Armenian" territory. It has long been known that Armenian nationalists and Javakh separatists want to tear them away from Georgia. So France is supporting these claims?


Such "photo-ops" by French politicians are far from harmless. Especially against the backdrop of the scandal surrounding France's recent almost blatant interference in Georgia's internal affairs. Recently, in connection with protests by some NGOs and opposition to the draft law "On Transparency of Foreign Influence", a representative of the French Foreign Ministry stated that "France is following the situation in Georgia with concern, condemns violence and calls on the authorities to protect the right to peaceful protest". The Georgian Foreign Ministry had to respond to the French Foreign Ministry, reminding it of the violent repression of demonstrations in Paris and other cities.


The question also arises: what does the French Foreign Ministry have to do with the internal affairs of a sovereign country, Georgia, that it "follows with concern"? And is there not a danger that France will interpret the "right to protest" in its own way? In particular, if anything, it will support the "protest" or even the direct rebellion of the "Javakh" separatists against Georgia, just as it once supported the rebellion of the "Artsakh" separatists against Azerbaijan. It is interesting that the mayor of Lyon, Gregory Doucet, has made it obligatory in the protocol of the official reception of guests to take photos against the background of the map of "Great Armenia".


During a recent meeting with Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturian, Gregory Doucet said: "We have a great desire and willingness to help Armenia and the Armenian people whenever possible, as many great French personalities did in their time. I assure you that I will do everything in my power to help Armenia.


However, the involvement of individuals such as Gregory Doucet in supporting Armenian nationalist claims to other people's lands may inadvertently exacerbate the situation for ethnic Armenians. In particular, during his visit to Armenia last year, Mr Doucet expressed support for the demands of revanchists and "Artsakh" separatists to "unblock the Lachin corridor". This could potentially allow the separatists to receive weapons and plunder the subsoil of Azerbaijan. Instead of advising Karabakh Armenians to take Azerbaijani citizenship and integrate into Azerbaijani society, it would be more constructive to suggest that everyone remembers well how the "help and advice" to the separatists of such politicians as Mayor of Lyon Gregory Doucet and Mayor of Paris Anne Perfect ended.


And now Gregory Doucet, standing alongside representatives of the Armenian community in front of a map displaying Armenian territorial claims to other countries, is doing Armenia and the Armenian people another "favour," while at the same time making the countries and peoples to which the claims are made aware of France and its politicians.


In any case, it seems that in Georgia they are already beginning to "point out the place" of France in its attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of their country. If mayors of key cities of France pose under the map territories of Georgia up to its capital Tbilisi, it could be perceived as a gesture of concern about Georgian affairs.


Alexandre Zakariadze

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