French Senate to Ignore Pressures on Bill

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"It is not in the practice of the French Senate to discuss or overrule its decisions. It will make a decision according to its conscience–excluding any pressure no matter where it comes from," a member of the French Senate–chairman of the France-Armenia friendship group–Jacques Oudin–said–commenting on the upcoming debate over the recognition of the Genocide of Armenia’s in the French Parliament and the related pressure on France on the part of Turkey.

The senator pointed out that representatives of the French Parliament’s upper chamber had repeatedly addressed the issue of recognition of the Genocide of Armenia’s on different levels during their visit to Armenia. The senators visited the Genocide Memorial and made notes in the guest’s book–which was described by Oudin as the best summary to our positions and the activities we plan in this direction." He read out some excerpts of what they had written in the guest books: "In the name of friendship and universal conscience–we–the senators–pledge to come out in favor of the recognition of this genocide by the French authorities and the international community."

Commenting on the position of the France-Armenia friendship group on the Karabakh conflict–Oudin said–"It is essential that one basic position be expressed–that is– the right of nations to self-determination. We want the anxiety of the Karabakh people to be taken into consideration and the problem to be resolved as soon as possible."

"It is desirable that we should be able to develop and establish closer cooperation by the end of the visit," Oudin told last week’s news conference held at the French Embassy in Armenia.

He pointed out that the delegation of the French Parliament’s Upper Chamber had arrived in Armenia at the invitation of the chairman of the Armenian National Assembly–Khosrov Haroutiunian.

Stressing France’s interest in the development of relations between the two countries–the senator said that the France-Armenia friendship group consists of as many members as the France-US friendship group .

Oudin reported that there were also representatives of the largest enterprises of France in their delegation–who had developed a program of cooperation jointly with the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia. During the visit–the Schlumberger enterprise–the world’s leading producer of electricity–gas and water meters–concluded a deal with Armenia for the supply of 120,000 gas meters. A representative of "Gas de France" made an offer for cooperation with the "Hayrusgazard" during his meetings with the president of Armenia–the prime minister and the minister of energy.

The French senator stressed the importance of cooperation between the two parliamen’s in the matter of improving Armenia’s legislation to foster the economic growth of Armenia and encourage foreign investment.

Another major trend–according to Oudin–is the development of cultural ties.

He–in particular–stressed the need for a broader study of the French language in Armenia–which would allow Armenian young people to work for the French enterprises now being set up in the country.

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