PARIS—Strengthening France-Armenia relations and the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were on the agenda of talks held Friday at Elysee Palace between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and French President Emanuel Macron, ahead of next month’s Francophone Summit to be held in Armenia.
Macron stressed the importance of Pashinyan’s visit to France saying that it would promote and reinvigorate the deep-rooted relations between the two countries. He said France is ready to develop multi-pronged cooperation with Armenia.
Macron is expected to visit Armenia next month for the Francophone Summit. He expressed confidence that the summit would be very successful and pledged to continue probing ways to advance France-Armenia relations during his visit to Yerevan next month.
“I am convinced that our meeting will bring new quality to our unique relations based on centuries-old historical friendship,” Pashinyan said adding that he was confident that those tie would develop further in through political dialogue, inter-parliamentary cooperation, economic exchanges, culture, education, research, healthcare and other sectors.
Pashinyan said that the the Francophone Summit is among the most important events to be held in Yerevan since Armenia’s independence. He reaffirmed Armenia’s commitment to ensure the Summit’s success and expressed confidence that it will help enhance the reputation and influence of La Francophone.
The two leaders also discussed the economic forum scheduled for October 10 on the sidelines of the Francophone Summit, saying it could become a key component of advancing French investment in Armenia.
During the discussion on the Karabakh conflict resolution issue, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to advance the negotiations toward a lasting peace through the OSCE Minsk Group, of which France is a co-chairing country along with Russia and the United States.
Pashinyan hailed the efforts made by the Co-Chairs, including France, to secure peace and stability in the region. The Prime Minister underscored that Armenia remains committed to continued negotiations in a bid to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Meeting With Potential Investors
Ahead of his discussions with Macron, Pashinyan attended a meeting of Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), where he said the “the velvet revolution in Armenia will be useless, if it is not followed by an economic one.”
“I want to assure you that all investors will have dialogue-based relations with the Government of Armenia that will be honest and legitimate. Those who engage in economic activity will not have competitors in the government, since business and politics should be separated, and those who are engaged in politics should not engage in business. The Armenian government has been able to enforce this condition within a short period of time because it enjoys full confidence of the Armenian people,” Pashinyan said at the MADEF meeting.
Meeting with Community; ARF Bureau Member
Ahead of his meeting with Macron, Pashinyan met with the co-chairs of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organization in France (CCAF), Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Murad Papazian and Ara Tornaian.
The CCAF leaders briefed the prime minister of the group’s continued support of Armenia and Artsakh initiatives, as well as its mission and activities in France. The two leaders explained that through the organization’s efforts, issues of importance to Armenia and Artsakh are regularly being presented to non-Armenian political, business and civic organization, in an effort to engage the French society in Armenian affiars.
Pashinyan commended the CCAF for its continued drive to advance Armenian interests in France and stressed the important role the group plays in the development and strengthening of Diaspora-Armenia relations.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Armenia’s Ambassador to France Hasmik Tolmajyan were also present during the CCAF talks.
On Thursday evening a dinner with the community drew a wide cross-section of French-Armenian life and community, among them the Mayor of Lyon Georges Kepenekian, Deputy Mayor of the 9th district of Paris Alexy Govchian, former member of the French government Patrick Devedjian, businessmen Daniel Kourkchyan, Serge Churuk, Vardan Srmakesh , Armen Petrosyan and Alain Mikli, as well as President of the Union of Filmmakers Alain Terzian and world-famous soccer star Yuri Djorkaeff.
Pashinyan presented Djorkaeff with the Medal of Gratitude on the occasion of the forthcoming Independence Day anniversary of Armenia.
A humbled Djorkaeff said France had awarded him with the Legion of Honor, adding “State awards are very important to everyone. I will wear this medal with honor and pride being given to me by the Prime Minister [of Armenia]. This is a new impetus, and I will be very proud to be a representative of that country.”
In his remarks, Pashinyan said that the presence of such prominent French-Armenians symbolized the opportunities available today in the Republic of Armenia.
“What happened in Armenia is quite easy to understand. The citizens of Armenia and the Armenian people regained their trust and self-confidence. This is the key change that has taken place. No matter who is in government and or the opposition, the people are the only source of power in the Republic of Armenia and that tis not an exaggeration,” Pashinyan told the French-Armenian community.
“I do believe that the Armenian people have shouldered a new role, and that new role is first of all to create a free and happy homeland. I can guarantee that today all people are equal before the law in Armenia. Being or having more and less in the country is the cornerstone on which our new reality is to be built,” added Pashinyan, who also fielded questions from members of the community.