France Approves of Armenian Elections

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–French Ambassador to Armenia–Michel Legras held a press conference on April 6. He first made public the French President’s letter of congratulation to Robert Kocharian. According to the letter–France will continue its activities toward the enhancement of Armenian-French bilateral relations.

Legras then addressed some political issues. On election day–he had visited 12 precincts and concluded that all polling stations proceeding smoothly. He stated that–even if there were frauds they could not cast doubt upon the legitimacy of the election. According to the Ambassador–the Armenian public does not feel itself deceived and the amount of complaints has been minimal.

During the campaigning period–the French Ambassador had met with all twelve candidates and got acquainted with their platforms. Commenting on Kocharian’s candidacy–Ambassador Legras stated both the positive and negative sides of his election. He viewed as positive Kocharian’s experience as prime minister. However–Kocharian’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh is an issue for France. Legras said that France remains true to its position for the Nagorno-Karabakh resolution and it still hopes to persuade Armenia to accept the proposals by the OSCE Minsk Group.

He stressed the security of Armenia’s in Nagorno-Karabakh as a most important issue in the conflict resolution. He also pointed out the issues of refugees and the occupied territories.

According to the Ambassador–the candidates very often touched upon the Karabakh issue–thereby playing to the electors’ emotions. Only during the upcoming OSCE Minsk Group regular meeting following Kocharian’s election–will it be possible to concretely speak on the options of conflict resolution–Legras said. The Ambassador also found it noteworthy that Kocharian had to act differently as President of Nagorno-Karabakh and as Prime Minister of Armenia. Legras anticipated a change of attitude with Kocharian’s new role as president.

The Ambassador also emphasized the economic progress as a priority issue for Armenia. According to him–France can greatly contribute to Armenia’s economic development. "The main objective is the peaceful co-existence of nations," Legras said.

Legras reported that in the fall–French President Jacques Chirac will visit Armenia–Georgia and Azerbaijan.

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