Left: Abultalibov was awarded the French
Order of the Legion of Honor by decree of French President Jacques
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
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
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.
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.
(6.4) Winter 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.
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AI 6.4 (Winter 1998)
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