France accuses Azerbaijan of intervening in the New Caledonia unrest.


On Thursday, France accused Azerbaijan of “interference” in the politics of its Pacific territory, New Caledonia, which has recently experienced violent protests that have resulted in deaths.

As tensions between France and the oil-rich Caspian Sea state rose, Azerbaijan swiftly denied the claim leveled by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

The attempts to pass a new voting law, which proponents of independence from France believe discriminates against the native Kanak people, sparked rioting in New Caledonia, a French possession situated between Australia and Fiji.


“This is not a daydream. When asked if Azerbaijan, China, or Russia were interfering in New Caledonia, Darmanin stated that it was a reality.

“I deplore that some Caledonian pro-independence leaders have struck a pact with Azerbaijan. “It’s indisputable,” he claimed.

However, he added: “Even if there are attempts of interference…” France is sovereign on its own land, which is a good thing.”

“We completely reject the baseless accusations,” Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ayhan Hajizadeh, stated.

“We refute any connection between the leaders of the struggle for freedom in Caledonia and Azerbaijan.”

Tensions between Paris and Baku have escalated in the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s 2020 war and 2023 lightning attack to reclaim control of its breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh area from ethnic Armenian insurgents.

France is traditional friend of Christian Armenia, Azerbaijan’s neighbor and historical foe, and has sizable Armenian diaspora.

Darmanin called Azerbaijan, which has been led by President Ilham Aliyev, who succeeded his father Heydar, “dictatorship” since 2003.

On Wednesday, the Paris government prohibited the social media platform TikTok from operating in New Caledonia. Tiktok, whose parent firm is Chinese, has been widely used by protestors. Critics believe it is being used to propagate falsehoods from foreign countries.

Azerbaijan has invited separatists from the French regions of Martinique, French Guiana, New Caledonia, and French Polynesia to Baku for summit in July 2023. The “Baku Initiative Group” was formed at the meeting, with the claimed goal of assisting “French liberation.”

The group issued a statement this week opposing the French parliament’s planned amendment to New Caledonia’s constitution, which would grant outsiders who relocated to the territory at least ten years ago the right to vote in its elections.

Pro-independence supporters argue that would weaken the vote of Kanaks, who account for around 40% of the population.

“We stand in solidarity with our Kanak friends and support their fair struggle,” the Baku Initiative Group stated.

Raphael Glucksmann, the French Socialists’ list leader in the June European Parliament elections, stated on Public Senate TV that Azerbaijan attempted to intervene for months.

He stated that the fundamental cause of the turmoil was a domestic issue about electoral reform, not agitation fomented by “foreign actors”.

“But,” he said of Azerbaijan, “they are seizing on internal problems.”

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