Azerbaijan International

Winter 1998 (6.4)
Page 26

Ramiz Abultalibov

Azerbaijan and France

Left: Abultalibov was awarded the French Order of the Legion of Honor by decree of French President Jacques Chirac.

Right: Plaque recently installed in Paris commemorating Topchibashi's efforts to have Azerbaijan recognized by the international community as a Democratic Republic back in 1919.

Relations with France
Alimardan Topchibashi, the first Chairman of the short-lived Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (1918-1920), went to Paris in 1919 to participate in the Versailles Peace Treaty between Germany and the Allies. He also wanted to get Azerbaijan recognized as an independent country. On May 28, 1919 he met with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. On January 20, 1920 the Supreme Council of the Great Allied Powers recognized the statehood of Azerbaijan. However, when the Bolsheviks invaded Baku in April that year, Azerbaijan's young government collapsed and Topchibashi was forced to remain in Paris. He died there in 1934. A plaque commemorating the building (37 Champs Élysées) where Topchibashi had lived while in Paris was installed in June 1998.

Book on Azerbaijani-French Relations
A new book "Together Forward Into the 21st Century" discusses Azerbaijan's relationship with France, especially how it has been influenced by President Aliyev's visits there over the past few years. The first state visit that Aliyev made as President was to Paris (1993). Major topics covered in the book include the signing of the "Contract of the Century," (1994) the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (1988- ) and France's efforts to restore peace in the Caucasus. The book was published in Paris in French with the help of the French Embassy in Azerbaijan, the Azer-baijan-France Friendship Society, the Azerbaijani House in Paris and the SIPA Photo Agency. Ramiz Abutalibov (Ambassador-at-Large) and Aydin Mehdiyev of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized the book's publication.

Ramiz Abutalibov Honored
Ramiz Abutalibov, Azerbaijan's Ambassador-at-Large, was recently awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor of France. The decree was issued by French President Jacques Chiraq. Abutalibov has been engaged in diplomatic affairs for Azerbaijan for more than 30 years, working in UNESCO's secretariat for 16 years. Previously, he served as the Director of the Foreign Affairs Department of Azerbaijan's Central Committee of the Communist Party and as the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet's Foreign Affairs Commission. Abutalibov has co-authored four books about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijani writer and Oscar-winning screenwriter Rustam Ibrahimbeyov. Other Azerbaijani recipients of the French award have included the two brothers Iskandar and Kiril Makinsky, sons of Pasha Khan Makinsky who emigrated to France in the early 1920s. The award was instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. Prior to Abutalibov's recognition, the award was recently bestowed upon Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov and Michelle Platini.

Azerbaijan International (6.4) Winter 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.

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