French Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories Gérald Darmanin accused Azerbaijan of interference in New Caledonia on Thursday, as major riots broke out in Noumea.

“It’s not a fantasy about Azerbaijan, it’s a reality”, declared Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on France 2 television:

He regretted “that some of the Caledonian independence fighters have made a deal with Azerbaijan”.

On Wednesday, the government also banned the Chinese social network TikTok, widely used by rioters, in New Caledonia.

Dubious agreement with Baku

Last April, a memorandum of cooperation between the Congress of New Caledonia and the National Assembly of Azerbaijan was signed by a pro-independence elected representative (without the agreement of the other elected representatives).

Azerbaijan’s aim is to destabilise France by any means necessary. Azerbaijan is in armed conflict with its neighbour Armenia, which is an ally of France. The Azerbaijani dictatorship set up the “Baku Initiative Group” to support “French liberation and anti-colonial movements”.

“Putting salt in the wounds

Raphaël Glucksmann, who chaired a European Parliament committee on foreign interference, also denounced “an attempt to interfere” by Azerbaijan “for months now”.

“It is not foreign actors who create tension. In this case, it’s a constitutional reform, it’s an internal problem. But they seize on internal problems to rub salt in the wounds and to tense up the situation”, denounced the head of the Socialist list in the European elections on 9 June.

“Authoritarian regimes like Russia and Azerbaijan, but also China, seize on the slightest flaw in our societies to create chaos”, he explained.