How Azerbaijan is involved in New Caledonia

Azerbaijan retaliates for French aid to Armenia and supports separatist movements in France’s overseas territories.

Baku/Noumea/Vienna. Azerbaijan and New Caledonia are separated by almost 14,000 kilometers. Among the rebels in the South Pacific, Azerbaijani flags are being flown and portraits of Azerbaijani ruler Ilham Aliyev are being circulated.

Azerbaijan has been supporting the resistance movement in the French overseas territory for some time. In July 2023, a conference was held in Baku which openly condemned French colonialism. During that time, Baku first established relations with anti-colonial activists from Martinique, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna Archipelago, and New Caledonia. After the meeting, the “Baku Initiative Group” was established, which aims to “eliminate de facto slavery on the African continent and in various parts of the world”. Resource-rich and authoritarian-run Azerbaijan supports the movements not only organizationally but also financially.

The soft power in question

Baku’s anti-colonialism was a response to France’s support for Armenia. Prominent politicians such as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo have criticized Baku for the Nagorno-Karabakh blockade that preceded the latest war and traveled to the country on solidarity missions.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly used questionable soft power methods to assert its power interests. Alleged luxury calls and bribery of European politicians. By supporting anti-colonialism, Baku is certainly not pursuing a positive political agenda on its behalf, but rather wants to weaken France’s influence.

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