Signs Cooperation Agreement with Syunik
Artsakh Foreign Minister Sergey Ghazaryan met on Friday with a delegation of officials from France’s Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Regional Council headed by its president Laurent Wauquiez.
The meeting took place at Artsakh’s Permanent Representation in Armenia since Ghazaryan has been stranded in Armenia due to the ongoing Azerbaijani blockade of Artsakh.
According to the Artsakh Foreign Ministry, the parties discussed the situation in Artsakh, the future courses of action, and humanitarian programs.
Wauquiez expressed confidence that the collaboration between Artsakh and the French region he heads will only deepen and strengthen.
Wauquiez also met with a group of people from Artsakh who were forcibly displaced from their homes as a result of the 44-day war in 2020 and settled in Armenia, listened to their problems, and discussed a number of matters of legal importance.
Their meeting was preceded by a two-day visit of the French delegation to Armenia’s Syunik Province, where they visited the entrance to the Lachin Corridor, which has been blockaded by Azerbaijan since December 12.
In his remarks, Wauquiez called for strong pressure from France to ensure the opening of the corridor.
“We have come to remind the world about the 150,000 people living in Artsakh. They are cut off from the world, they don’t have sufficient food and medical supplies, this is simply disastrous,” Wauquiez said at the Lachin Corridor entrance.
“This is happening in silence, overlooked…Today the world is focused on Ukraine, which is understandable, but we cannot forget Artsakh, because if there is one conflict it does not mean there is not another. Both are equally important for us,” Wauquiez added.
“It is very important that the international community reacts to this, and that France exerts maximum pressure in order for the road to be opened at least for humanitarian aid, as a first step. It is important for me to be at the entrance of the corridor, to show that France is standing by Armenia and Artsakh,” said Wauquiez.
While in Syunik, Wauquiez signed a cooperation agreement between the province and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France during a ceremony at Tatev Monastery.
The agreement envisions the development of bilateral cooperation “based on the principles of friendship, justice and mutual interests.”
The priorities of the agreement include ensuring access to medical care, economic development, particularly in agriculture, professional education of youth, promotion of tourism and the promotion of Francophonie.
A steering committee will be created for the proper development of projects based on the goals of the cooperation. The parties will create an action plan that will become part of the signed agreement.
“The French Embassy welcomes the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the Syunik region in the Tatev monastery, aimed specifically at economic development, agriculture, professional education, healthcare and Francophone areas,” said a Twitter post Saturday by France’s Embassy in Armenia.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry was angered by Wauquiez’s meeting with the Artsakh Foreign Minister, calling the delegation’s visit a “provocation.” Official Baku was also infuriated by the French official’s suggestion that as a result of the agreement, humanitarian assistance can flow to Artsakh via the Lachin Corridor.