Kocharian Meets with Chirac During France Visit

PARIS (RFE/RL)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian Friday arrived in France from the US–where he met with President Clinton. Upon his arrival he met with President Jacques Chirac. The meeting lasted for about two hours. After that meeting two presidents old press conference at the Elysee palace.

President Chirac said that French-Armenian relations are just perfect–but there is a need to improve economic relations between two countries. Both leaders also discussed Armenian-EU relations. France will chair the European Union from July 1. Jacques Chirac congratulated President Kocharian on the occasion of PACE vote to recommend Armenia’s membership in Council of Europe.

Asked by RL’s Paris correspondent Ruzan Kureghian whether he will visit Armenia–Chirac said that he already received an invitation from Robert Kocharian and he will not postpone or delay this time. Jacques Chirac told journalists that he invited Robert Kocharian to visit Armenia on a state visit next February.

Commenting on the issue of economic assistance for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict region–Jacques Chirac said that he will use his influence in the World Bank–IMF and EU to ensure an economic package for the region–once the conflict is resolved. He told journalists that both presidents had an extensive discussion on Karabakh Issue.

Armenian President Robert Kocharian–commenting on Nagorno-Karabakh peace process–told journalists that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen are allowing him and President Haydar Aliyev to find a solution to the conflict on their own–adding that there is no pressure from OSCE Minsk Group. After the Armenian and Azeri presidents find a solution for the conflict –the OSCE Minsk Group will do everything to implement the agreement–Kocharian said.

President Kocharian also met with French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. On Saturday–the Armenian President will visit French Senate.

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