Serzh Sargsyan: Armenia will do what it can to achieve a peaceful settlement to the Karabakh issue

Armenian President used the word “unique” to describe the Armenian-French relations. “France opened its doors and heart to welcome the survivors of the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Today the French Armenian community is a bridge between the two countries,” President Sargsyan said in an interview with the French Le Figaro.

“The year 2012 is  symbolic. We celebrate the 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. Twenty years of relations between our countries have been marked by great achievements. Our cultural and commercial ties are growing actively. France is the second largest investor in Armenia, 155 companies with the participation of the French capital are functioning in Armenia,” he said.

Touching upon the bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, President Serzh Sargsyan said: “The French policy on the Armenian Genocide has not been imposed by Armenia.” The President said it was difficult for him to predict the future of the bill. “I welcome President Hollande’s clear stance expressed both during the election campaign and in the capacity of the president.”

As for the events in Syria, President Sargsyan said “Armenia cannot stay indifferent to the situation in Syria considering that there is a big Armenian community in that country. The President recalled that Syria gave shelter to many Armenians who survived the Genocide and helped them move to other countries.

“Civil war is a difficult test for any country. It is difficult to say if foreign interference is effective or counterproductive in such situation,” the President said. “Recipes that have been working for other circumstances may cause tragic consequences in Syria resulting in irreparable changes in the demographic landscape of the region,” Serzh Sargsyan said, adding that “the Republic of Armenia will do all in its power to promote the maintenance of peace in the country and ensure a sustainable and viable presence of the Armenian community.”

Speaking about the Paris meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers, Serzh Sargsyan said “it resulted in an agreement to continue negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the current format.” “However, this meeting is far from arousing new hopes. Baku rejects the principles proposed by mediators as a basis for talks and believes it is possible to negotiate a peace agreement without having agreed on the basic principles. But a peace agreement can only be viable if it is based on clear principles acceptable to all.”

The Armenian president reminded that Azerbaijan lauded an officer who committed a heinous crime, murdering an Armenian officer in his sleep, and added that “Armenia will continue to do everything possible to achieve a peaceful settlement.”

Turkish leaders should take French President Francois Hollande, who recently condemned the deportation of French Jews during World War II, as an example of how to face the past, according to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

“French presidents have had the strength to face history. I applaud their courage. I will ask President Hollande to tell Turkish authorities how he personally condemned the deportation of Jews in concentration camps. This could serve as a source of lessons for leaders of Turkey,” Sargsyan  told French Le Figaro.

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