Sarkisian, Hollande Discuss Ties, Artsakh Conflict

Armenian and French Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Francois Hollande meet in Paris on March 8, 2017 (Photo: Press Office of the President of Armenia)
Armenian and French Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Francois Hollande meet in Paris on March 8, 2017 (Photo: Press Office of the President of Armenia)

Armenian and French Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Francois Hollande meet in Paris on March 8, 2017 (Photo: Press Office of the President of Armenia)

PARIS, (Armenpress)—During his official visit to France, President of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian met with his French counterpart Francois Hollande and discussed issues of bilateral relations and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic conflict settlement.

Regarding France’s role in the Artsakh conflict, Hollande said “France, together with the USA and Russia, is an OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair state and we wish to work for finding a solution. We have recorded a number of incidents in the recent weeks and months. By installing mechanisms investigating the incidents we can prevent the incidents and punish the acts that are against peace,” stressing that France strives for a political settlement.

Folowing Armenian Genocide recognition by France shows that the international community can never accept the extermination of any nation, Hollande said following the meeting with Sarkisian.

“We have always viewed the recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a step towards peace – peace inside us and peace between countries. We have always viewed the issue of the Armenian Genocide in a more global context which means that we pay attention to all the crimes against humanity and newer crimes,” Hollande underlined.

In this context, the French President recalled his 2015 visit to Yerevan to participate in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. “I wanted to reaffirm by my presence that France will continue advocating the Armenian genocide recognition,” he said.

Sarkisian’s official visit to France is rather symbolic as it takes place in the year marking the 25th anniversary of establishing Armenian-French diplomatic relations and on the International Women’s Day.

During the press conference after their meeting, Hollande highlighted Armenia’s and France’s economic ties. “Many French businessmen started to invest in Armenia, namely in tourism, telecommunications, services and so on,” he said.

“Armenia also has important relations with Russia and Iran. Armenia and Russia are members of the Eurasian Economic Union. Therefore, they have close economic cooperation. Similarly, Armenia is linked with Europe and plans to sign the framework agreement,” the President of France announced.

The two Presidents also touched upon cooperation in culture and higher education. “A French University operates in Armenia which will obtain broader opportunities by establishing relations with other educational institutions in France enjoying great popularity”, Francois Hollande said.

“Armenia plans to host Francophonie summit in 2018. This is a great responsibility that Armenia will carry out,” Hollande noted.

Sarkisian on Wednesday met with members of the Movement of French Enterprises (MEDEF), which acts as an important link between French firms and high-ranking officials and private sector representatives from different countries.

This entity is responsible for international cooperation, supporting and contributing to the activity of French businesses and creates conditions for them to realize their programs. It also enables French companies functioning abroad to raise issues of interest and problems with a view of seeking solutions.

During the meeting, Sarkisian introduced the various investment opportunities in Armenia and invited French companies to invest in the country. “I assure we’re ready to demonstrate an individual approach to every investor, taking into consideration their needs.”

Sarkisian on March 7 also had a meeting with representatives of the Armenian communities of Europe.

Addressing the community, Sarkisian spoke of existing problems and challenges Armenia faces, Armenia’s and Artsakh’s security, the Artsakh peace process, ongoing programs to assist Syrian-Armenians, Armenia-Diaspora cooperation, and urged to unite even more and channel efforts towards the implementation of the Pan-Armenian issues, including the creation of a freer, more fair, more secure and more advanced Armenia.

“Today, the Armenia-Diaspora relations need to concentrate on the ideas and principles which unite the nation, endowing the cooperation with a new quality and substance, he said.”

“Our goal is clear: to build an efficient and prosperous Armenia. Only efficient and prosperous Armenia will be able to defend herself and to safeguard her brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. We do not underestimate the huge works carried out until today and various programs called to life. Moreover, we address our sincere words of gratitude to our brothers and sisters who made them possible. We invite our compatriots to become immediate participants to the development of the policies for the advancement in different areas and works aimed at calling them to life.

We propose to discuss new mechanisms of cooperation. Not a single serious initiative will remain unattended. Transparent work, elimination of artificial hurdles is a matter of principle; responsibility should be shared by all parties involved.”

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