The deputy mayor of Marseille in charge of international relations, Michèle Rubirola, leaves this Tuesday for the Latchine corridor, where the Azeris have established a blockade for nine months, putting in danger of death the 120,000 Armenians who live in Artsakh .
This Tuesday, she will fly to Yerevan with her director of international relations for a transpartisan humanitarian convoy, shortening her vacation in the mountains for the trouble. A few minutes before her return to Marseille, Michèle Rubirola agreed to answer our questions.
Where does the idea of this convoy to the Lachin corridor which connects Armenia to Artsakh and which Azerbaijan has blocked since December 12, 2022 come from?
It is a challenge that the National Council of Coordination Councils of Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF) launched on April 24 at the Paris City Hall and that Mayor Anne Hidalgo is taking up today by organizing a transpartisan humanitarian convoy to of Artsakh. In addition to Armenian associations in Paris, three right-wing elected officials (Xavier Bertrand, Bruno Retailleau and Patrick Karam) and three left-wing elected officials (Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Strasbourg Jeanne Barseghian and myself) are notably part of it.
What is the planned program?
We are going to meet the local authorities, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (Ugab) in Armenia will present the humanitarian situation to us and we will drive four hours from Yerevan to go Wednesday noon to Goris, near the checkpoint of the corridor of Lachin, blocked by the Azeris. We are going to try to pass ten trucks containing basic necessities that the City of Marseille will finance in part, through infant food products and electricity generators. This aid will be approved in a special deliberation at the next municipal council.
While the French Armenian community criticizes France and the European Union for not committing more to end the blockade of Azerbaijan, what can be the weight of the local communities participating in the convoy?
I think it is part of the role of local authorities to go beyond French diplomacy – which, moreover, through the voice of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, approves of this initiative. The challenge is to denounce what is happening there, to provide our support in the fight against the suffering and the difficult conditions in which the Armenians of Artsakh live. Alongside the other elected officials, we will demand a peace process, talks and the resumption of the path of negotiation with Azerbaijan to avoid a third war. We also ask that in the meantime, the routing of humanitarian convoys be made possible.
This article is originally published on laprovence.com