Armenian Parliamentary Delegation Visits France

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan–Radio Liberty)–An Armenian parliamentary delegation led by speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia Armen Khachatrian arrived Monday in Paris on the invitation of Chairman of the French Senate Christian Poncelet. Armen Khachatrian will attend a meeting of speakers of the three South Caucasus republics–which is organized by the French Senate Chairman at the Versailles Palace. The meeting is aimed at establishing political and economic cooperation among the three countries. On December 14 Khachatrian was scheduled to meet with French President Jacques Chirac–whereas on December a meeting with Speaker of the Parliament of France Laurent Fabius was to be held.

On December 14 at the Armenian Embassy in France Khachatrian met with representatives of the Armenian community of France. Khachatrian briefed those present on the economic and political situation in the country–noting that the people tried to unite when Karen Demirchian and Vazgen Sargsyan combined their efforts. "All our factions follow the same constructive tendency that was seen at the National Assembly–where everyone thinks not only about criticizing–but also making proposals. Everyone has the right to express their will," he said.

He also noted that there is an atmosphere of mistrust that emerged in Armenia after the October 27 killing. He stressed that decisions taken by Demirchian and Sargsyan must be fulfilled.

Linking migration to the absence of a strong economy–Khachatrian said: "We are a thousand times more interested in improving the socio-economic conditions in Armenia. Loans must be used properly–and not misappropriated."

Leader of the Unity bloc of the National Assembly of Armenia Andranik Margarian said that the bloc does not push for the president’s resignation–while the Minister for Coordination of Industrial Infrastructure Vahan Shirkhanian spoke solely on his behalf.

Concerning the Karabakh issue Armen Khachatrian moved forward an idea that the problem could be solved through a referendum–as no one has the right to impose his decision on a people. He considered the settlement of the conflict very important for the development of Armenia’s economy.

At a news conference in Paris Khachatrian noted that the resolution on the Genocide of Armenia’s adopted by the parliament of France–will be finally endorsed by the Senate. According to him–the final settlement of this issue was delayed for political reasons.

On December 14 a conference dedicated to the Caucasus and organized by the French Senate and the Center for Foreign Trade opened in Paris. At the conference delegations from the three countries will discuss opportunities and prospects for economic development of the region in the context of establishing peace. Besides the delegations–the conference will be attended by economists–political scientists–representatives of financial institutions and journalists. Each participant was given a package of documen’s containing information about natural resources in each South Caucasus country. Reports regarding Caspian oil say that one shouldn’t exaggerate Caspian oil reserves–which currently make up about 5 percent of the overall oil reserves on the planet. The conference was opened by Christian Poncelet–who said that after visiting Armenia he was surprised to find out how much the three republics depend on each other.

The delegations will also discuss the role of the European Union in the economic development of the Caucasus.

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