Armenia and France are expected to sign a military agreement on Monday for Yerevan to acquire weapons from Paris, France’s Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper on Sunday.
“Tomorrow we will officially formalize Armenia’s acquisition of a certain types of weapons from French manufacturers, in particular, we will sign an agreement that will allow Armenia to protect its skies,” Lecornu said, adding that his Armenian counterpart Suren Papikyan was expected in Paris on Monday for the signing of the agreement.
“It is important to provide opportunities to Armenia to defend its peaceful residents and secure its border defense,” Lecornu added.
Lecornu told a French Senate commission earlier this week that France will sell solely defensive weapons to Armenia.
Lecornu emphasized that the weapons that are being considered for sale are only defensive and not offensive and meant to assist Armenia in defending lives and the security of its territory.
Lecornu told the senators this week that France already has a working permanent defense mission in Armenia. Its attache, the minster said, is an experienced general and is overseeing “an important effort.”
During a visit to Armenia earlier this month, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Armenia needed to be able to defend itself weeks after Azerbaijani forces invaded Nagorno-Karabakh despite the presence of Russian peacekeepers.
She said Paris has agreed to deliver military equipment to Armenia.
After visiting displaced Artsakh residents, including burn patients injured in a Stepanakert fuel depot station explosion, the minister pledged military support.
“I would like to publicly state that France has agreed on future contracts with Armenia which will allow the delivery of military equipment to Armenia so that it can ensure its defense. You’ll understand that I can’t go into more detail at the moment,” Colonna said on October 3.
Colonna’s pledge of military support to Armenia has further angered Baku, with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan complaining to European Council President Charles Michel about what he called the “anti-Azerbaijan” posturing by Paris and the EU.