YEREVAN (AFP) –Charles Aznavour, uncontested star of French song, has been appointed ambassador to Switzerland for his ancestral homeland Armenia, the Armenian presidency said Wednesday.
President Serzh Sarkisian appointed Aznavour ambassador to Switzerland and Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations office in Geneva, the presidency said in a brief statement.
Aznavour only received Armenian citizenship last December.
He told Armenian television in February that he had accepted an offer to become the country’s ambassador to Switzerland “with pleasure and joy”.
“At first I had doubts… but then I thought that what is important for Armenia should be important for us all,” he said at the time.
Born Shahnur Aznavourian in Paris to Armenian parents, the 84-year-old singer has maintained close links with Armenia and is among the best-known figures of France’s 400,000-strong Armenian Diaspora.
After the 1988 earthquake in Armenia that killed 25,000 people, Aznavour set up a foundation and organised a series of charity concerts to help quake victims.
Aznavour is the first French performer to have a recording that went platinum in Europe. He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.