Why France accuses Azerbaijan of interference in New Caledonia | EUROtoday

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While Azerbaijani flags had been seen in processions of independence demonstrators in New Caledonia, France accuses this Caucasian nation of profiting from the riots to increase its affect within the area, which Baku formally denies. Explanations.

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Azerbaijani flags in processions in Nouméa, a bunch linked to Baku supporting the separatists… New Caledonia, within the grip of riots, is turning into a brand new space of ​​rigidity between France and Azerbaijan.

At the tip of a 3rd night time of violence within the French territory of the South Pacific, Paris accused Baku of interference on Thursday, which Azerbaijan instantly denounced.

On Wednesday, in a report on the TF1 channel, some independence activists from the archipelago wore t-shirts adorned with the Azerbaijani banner. An indication of the obvious affect of the nation, but very removed from Le Caillou.

In March, Azerbaijani media confirmed New Caledonian protesters with photographs of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Nouméa.

While relations are degraded between France and Azerbaijan, resulting from Paris' help for Armenia in its territorial battle in Nagorno-Karabakh, New Caledonia is shaping as much as be a brand new zone of bilateral turbulence.

Asked Thursday about potential international interference in New Caledonia, the French Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories, Gérald Darmanin, pointed to Baku.

“Azerbaijan is not a fantasy, it is a reality,” he declared on France 2, regretting “that some of the separatists have made a deal” with this nation. But France, regardless of “attempts at interference”, stays “sovereign at home”.

Azerbaijan denounces “a campaign of slander”

“We deny any link between the leaders of the struggle for Caledonian freedom and Azerbaijan,” replied Baku, criticizing “insulting” “unfounded” statements and “a campaign of slander”.

The former French colony, which turned territory of the Republic in 1946, was shaken by violent riots which left 5 lifeless, together with two gendarmes, and a whole lot injured.

Paris established a state of emergency, deployed the military and banned the social community TikTok, whose father or mother firm is Chinese, broadly utilized by the rioters.

Read additionallyBan on TikTok in New Caledonia: the underside of an “unprecedented” measure

Paris's questions on Azerbaijan's affect in New Caledonia date again a number of months, however haven’t till now been made public.

They have been strengthened because the signing in April of a memorandum of cooperation between the Congress of New Caledonia and the Azerbaijani National Assembly.

“There are established links, documented for several months between elected pro-independence politicians and the Azerbaijani authorities,” Bastien Vandendyck, specialist in New Caledonia, informed AFP.

The unusual affect of the Baku Initiative Group

From Caracas, the place he’s presently attending the Special UN Committee on Decolonization (C-24), this particular advisor to Sonia Backès, non-independence president of the Southern Province of the archipelago, affirms that “for the primary time because the creation of the C-24, Azerbaijan got here to take a seat on it.

The C-24 nonetheless considers New Caledonia as one of many 17 “non-autonomous territories in the world”, “whose populations do not yet completely administer themselves”.

The Caucasian republic can be pushing the Kanak independence motion through the Baku Initiative Group (GIB), a suppose tank and affect group which notably intends to “support the fight against colonialism and neo-colonialism”.

This group was born in July 2023 in Baku, throughout a convention with separatists from the French territories of Martinique, Guyana, New Caledonia and Polynesia.

Read additionally“Baku connection”: France, a punching bag of selection for Azerbaijan

On Tuesday, the GIB condemned “the arrest of the Kanaks and the acts of violence by the French authorities against civilians in New Caledonia”.

“It’s a pretty massive campaign”

French MEP Raphaël Glucksmann, who chaired a European Parliament committee on international interference, denounced “an attempted interference” by Azerbaijan “for months already”.

“It is not foreign actors who are creating the tension (…). But they are seizing on internal problems to rub salt in the wounds.”

A authorities supply informed AFP of a “maneuver” launched on Wednesday by Baku, with the published of “a montage successively showing two white police officers with rifles (…) then dead Kanaks”.

“It’s a pretty massive campaign, with around 4,000 posts generated by (these) accounts,” the supply added. “They are reusing codes already used during a previous smear campaign called Olympia.”

In November, France had already accused actors linked to Azerbaijan of getting led a disinformation marketing campaign aimed toward discrediting its potential to host the Olympic Games in Paris. Baku additionally rejected these accusations.

With AFP