Chirac to Visit Armenia in September

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–French President Jacques Chirac will pay an official visit to Armenia during his autumn tour of the Caucasus–French Ambassador to Armenia Michel Legras announced Monday.

The visit is to take place in September–and Chirac is expected to attend the September 21 celebrations on the occasion of Armenia’s Independence Day–a diplomatic source told Itar-Tass.

On his visit–the French leader will be accompanied by a delegation that is expected to include the French foreign and economy ministers– as well as major French businessmen.

When in Armenia–Chirac is scheduled to meet his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian and other leaders–to hold talks on the development of bilateral relations.

The talks are certain to focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. France is taking an active part in the conflict settlement as one of the three co-chairing nations of the OSCE Minsk Conference for Nagorno-Karabakh.

This is to become the first visit by a French president to Armenia.

The former Soviet republic was visited by French foreign ministers Christian Pineau in 1956 and Herve de Charette in 1997–as well as by French Culture Minister Jacques Troubon. In 1996–French Senate speaker Rene Monory visited Armenia as a guest.

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