French Senate President Visits Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A delegation of the French Senate led by Senate Speaker Christian Poncelet arrived in Armenia Tuesday as part of a regional tour.

During the one-day stay in Yerevan the delegation met with President Robert Kocharian–National Assembly Chairman Karen Demirchian–Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian–and members of the parliamentary standing foreign relations commission.

The delegation also visit the Dzidzernakaberd memorial monument and the Genocide Museum. Poncelet will propose to his counterparts from Armenia–Azerbaijan and Georgia to meet in Paris soon to discuss regional cooperation–Armenian officials said on Tuesday–reported Radion Free Europe.

Poncelet was quoted by government sources as making the statement in Yerevan where he arrived the same day on the first leg of a South Caucasus tour. The French speaker–who is accompanied by a group of senators–met with Armenian President Robert Kocharian and parliament speaker Karen Demirchian.

Poncelet said he intends to arrange a meeting in Paris of the heads of the Armenian–Azeri and Georgian parliamen’s to "try to peace solutions in an atmosphere of mutual trust," according to Kocharian’s press office. The press service of the Armenian parliament confirmed the report. There was no word as to when the proposed meeting could take place. Poncelet was also quoted as pledging France’s support for Yerevan’s stated goal of integration into European structures. "Welcoming Armenia’s desire to become a full member of the European family–the president of the French Senate emphasized that it reflects Europe’s interests," the presidential office said.

President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Arkady Ghoukassian met Monday with a delegation headed by Mayor of Glamard–France and member of the French National Assembly Jean Pierre Forchet. The delegation including the Mayor’s Advisor–Hakob Artirian–Chairman of the Artsakh-Glamard benevolent organization Hayk Vardapetian–Secretary of Artsakh-Glamard Varduhi Baghdasarian–member of the Glamard Town Council Lousien Vanero and their entourage.

The delegation plans to cooperate with Karabakh State University and study the education problems in Karabakh for the purpose of rendering assistance to the University.

During the meeting President Ghoukassian stressed the historical roots of French-Armenian relations and pointed out the need for maintaining such traditions. He presented to the delegation the current situation in the Karabakh settlement–stressing the need for consolidating all Armenia’s to solve the Karabakh problem.

The guests thanked the president for the reception and expressed satisfaction with their visit to Karabakh and the positive changes they observed during the visit.

Later that day Karabakh Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian met with the delegation.

Forchet presented to the prime minister the of the delegation’s plans. Danielian approved the cooperation plan and stated that the Karabakh government is willing to promote the implementation of such programs.

Attending the meetings were also Mayor of Stepanakert Karen Babayan and Rector of Karabakh State University Pavel Gevorgian.

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