French Ambassador Discusses Relations

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Addressing a meeting at the American University of Armenia–French Ambassador to Armenia Michel Legras pointed out the similar challenges faced by Armenia and France.

"Our neighbors are both our competitors and partners. With the rapid development of communication systems in the modern world–competition is continually getting stiffer," the ambassador said.

Legras outlined four spheres in which Armenia and France face similar problems–to oppose growing competition; to preserve cultural identity; to develop government institutions; to assess the historical past and its significance.

The ambassador said both countries were forced to cut government spending and were criticized by the people for doing so. Only governmen’s enjoying public trust are entitled to launch similar actions–he explained.

According to Legras–both states face the problem of preserving their ancient culture and identity. At the same time–he said–it was unacceptable to attach too great an importance to the historical past–which sometimes happens in France. "The youth ought to look ahead and not back," he said.

According to the ambassador–both countries’ constitutions provide their presidents with great powers but create certain difficulties once differences between the branches of power arise. "That is why we must adhere to clause 2 in our constitutions–which says: "Power belongs to the people". He described as "ruinous" any indifference of the people toward democratic institutions.

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