In the framework of his official visit to France, President Serzh Sargsyan on November 13 left for Lyon, which has a large and well-organized Armenian community, where he met with the Mayor of Lyon, Senator Gerard Collomb, President’s Press Office reported.
The parties spoke with satisfaction about the well-established and efficient cooperation between Yerevan and Lyon which already has some history and highly valued Armenian-French partnership which is developing in that format. From that point of view, stressed was the importance of the traditionally regular and reciprocal visits of the representatives of the two City Halls.
President Serzh Sargsyan expressed gratitude to Gerard Collomb for his continued interest towards Armenia and issues which concern Armenians, as well as for the multifaceted assistance, particularly, Senator Collomb’s indispensable contribution to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and his input in the development of the relations between Yerevan and Lyon. The President of Armenia expressed confidence that the Armenian-French friendship will continue to strengthen also thanks to the activities and friendship of Armenia’s and France’s sister towns.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Mayor of Lyon, Senator Gerard Collomb hosted an official dinner in honor of President Serzh Sargsyan.
In Lyon, President Sargsyan met also with the representatives of the business community of France. At the meeting in the Trade and Industry Chamber of Rhône-Alpes – one of the major industrial regions of France, President Serzh Sargsyan made a statement. He spoke of recent initiatives and developments which were of interest for the entrepreneurs of France and Lyon in particular, implemented reforms, Armenian-French economic ties, historical trade relations and prospects of deepening these relations. Serzh Sargsyan noted that if existing Armenian-French potential in that area is fully and efficiently realized, economic opportunities of independent Armenia will allow to increase considerably, even multiply the turnover between the two countries.
“The Armenian-French Business Club has been functioning in Armenia since last year, and yesterday the President of France Francois Hollande suggested transforming it into the Trade and Industry Chamber. We accept that proposal with great pleasure. The Club provides professional and information support, organizes regular thematic roundtables and serves to strengthen the French business community in Armenia and ensure a greater involvement of the French companies in the Armenian market. At the same time, I highly value the forthcoming programs of the French Development Agency aimed at the enhancement of Armenia’s advancement. We pin great hopes on the activities of that Agency since we are aware of its capabilities, since we are aware of the desire of the French leadership and since we are ready to do our best to make the Agency’s activities in Armenia a success,” President Sargsyan said.
The President of Armenia wished success to the entrepreneurs who participated at the meeting in their future activities and joint programs for the benefit of the Armenian-French relations and strengthening of the friendship of the two nations.
Later, at the City Hall of Lyon, Mayor Gerard Collomb hosted a reception in honor of the President of Armenia which was attended also by the representatives of the Armenian-French community. At the reception, President Serzh Sargsyan was bestowed the Medal of Honor of Lyon.
“Vivid proofs of friendship between Yerevan and Lyon are to be found in the center of the multinational Lyon where the Saint Hakop Apostolic Church is located on the Armenia Street, a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide installed at the Place Bellecour, and finally memories are fresh of the Lyon Garden opened last year in Yerevan, which was officially inaugurated in the presence of Mr. Collomb.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Each time I visit France, I feel like I am home and somewhat unintentionally I mentally turn the pages of our unshakeable friendship’s rich memory book which contains amazing parallels. And then comes the unwitting desire to say “thanks” to you, dear people of France, dear citizens of Lyon for being by our side during our most ominous tragedies.
We are approaching the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and we have to make our national struggle more organized so that this crime against humanity is never committed again. I am confident that sooner of later, Turkey will be compelled to accept the truth. It is probably the minimum of what’s needed for having relations with Europe, and it was stated explicitly yesterday by the President of France Mr. Hollande,President Sargsyan said.”
Concluding his three-day official visit to France, today delegation headed by President Serzh Sargsyan will return to Yerevan.