• France's news in English
How a tiny French town has infuriated Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan dictator Ilham Aliyev, is not happy with Bourg-lès-Valence.

How a tiny French town has infuriated Azerbaijan

The Local · 22 Apr 2016, 14:57

Published: 22 Apr 2016 14:57 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Bourg-lès-Valence is a quiet town with a population of less than 20,000, located in the Drôme department in southeastern France. 
It's a picturesque town, known for the Saint-Pierre cathedral, its 600-seat theatre, and the Château des Confolens that dates back to 1091.
But on Thursday, trouble brewed in Bourg-lès-Valence with the surprise arrival of a court bailiff from Azerbaijan who was looking to have a few words with the mayor and to give her a summons. 
The problem? Ever since 2014, Bourg-lès-Valence has been building up strong links with the town of Shusha of the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, part of Azerbaijan.
The two towns signed a friendship charter and aimed to build cultural links. The mayor of Boug-les-Valance Marlène Mourier has visited Shushu twice to meet local officials.
(Bourg-lès-Valence: Photo: Florian Pépellin/WikiCommons)
And Azerbaijain isn't impressed with the connection. Indeed, the whole region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been a point of irritation for Azerbaijan ever since it came under the control of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in 1992.
The bailiff's visit was an attempt to get the French town to cut ties with Shusha and to forbid French officials from ever visiting, reported the France Bleu newspaper.
The move, however, appears to have had the opposite effect. 
Mayor Mourier dismissed "attempt at intimidation by a foreign state on French territory".
She said: "We continue to have friendly relations with this city, and the friendship charter will be maintained. In fact, all this reinforces my determination," she told the paper.
Story continues below…
"This says a lot about the methods of a repressive regime that wants to stifle dissent. But here we are in France!" she told Le Figaro.
She later tweeted: "The dictator Aliev doesn't intimidate me!" referring to Ilham Aliyev, who has been the President of Azerbaijan since 2003.


For their part the Azerbaijan embassy said it was aware that an official had been sent to Bourg-les-Valence with a spokesman saying French towns shouldn't have connections with a place that is not recognized by France.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available