Sargsyan, Macron discuss Karabakh peace, EU relations

The Presidents of Armenia and France Serzh Sargsyan and Emmanuel Macron summed up the results of the meeting at a joint press conference.


Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan on the results of his meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic

Thank you, Mr. President.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our first meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron was really impressive. Thank you, Mr. President, for open and sincere dialogue, as well as for the warm welcome shown to the Armenian delegation.

It is a well-known fact that the history of Armenian and French peoples is marked by friendship; we entertain a sincere feeling of love and respect for France and its talented people. Therefore, I want to reaffirm Armenia’s commitment to continue developing, expanding and deepening bilateral relations in the spirit of mutual respect and trust.

We discussed with President Macron several issues of mutual interest, and I would like to note with satisfaction that our viewpoints almost coincided on vital issues; in other matters they are very close. By the way, I mean both the bilateral and international agenda.

We adhere to the same principles and share the same values. On this basis, we will continue to expand the Armenian-French privileged relations and the ongoing high-level political dialogue, build on inter-parliamentary, decentralized, cultural and scientific-educational ties, and support each other in mutually sensitive matters.

Indeed, we talked about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is probably one of the most sensitive issues in our region. I expressed high appreciation of the long-standing approaches and efforts exerted by France as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country, aimed at settling the conflict peacefully and establishing security, stability and cooperation in our region.

Armenia is committed to continuing the talks brokered by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. People in Nagorno-Karabakh are known to strive for freedom and self-determination, and their struggle can not be doomed to failure.

In October, 2018, Armenia will be hosting the 17th Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie, an event high on our bilateral agenda. For us, La Francophonie is not a mere form of language convergence: first of all, it is a commonwealth shaped around progressive civilization-oriented values, which has been instrumental in ensuring mankind’s progress, the bearer and the small particle of which we are.

We take the challenge with a sense of dignity and will spare no effort to make it a success. I am happy that President Macron reaffirmed his participation in the Summit, which is the key to success. And we have Mr. Macron’s endorsement to hold a Francophone Business Forum on the sidelines of the Summit which, indeed, will add momentum to Armenian-French economic relations. Thank you, Mr. President, for cooperation and support.

We agreed with my counterpart to keep the bilateral economic ties in the spotlight. Backed by our European partners, including the EU, the democratic reforms underway in Armenia, our commitment to bringing the local economy and legislation closer to European standards are promoting the business and investment-friendly environment year after year. In this regard, I reassured President Macron that we are more than interested in expanding the scope of the already well-established French entrepreneurship in our country.
I would also like to highlight the importance of close parliamentary ties between our countries. I am going to meet with members of the Armenia-France Friendship Group of the National Assembly of France. The Group’s activity fully complies with its name. For many years now, French parliamentarians have not only strived to build close inter-parliamentary cooperation, but they have also enriched and expanded the agenda of bilateral interstate relations.

Of course, a central topic of our discussion was the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, which was signed between Armenia and the European Union in November, 2017. It is a truly ambitious milestone, in the development of which France played a valuable role.

I availed myself of the opportunity to reiterate our appreciation for being supported all the way through the process of developing EU-Armenia relations. Armenia badly needs the continued support of your country in this matter. This agreement can open up new horizons for bilateral relations.

In conclusion, I would like to once again wish my counterpart Emmanuel Macron every success in his mission as the leader of France and express confidence that France shall become a more prosperous, more beautiful and safer country during his tenure of office.

Thank you very much, Mr. President, for a very good dialogue and the warm welcome.

Statement by President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron on the results of his meeting with RA President Serzh Sargsyan

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank President Serzh Sargsyan for visiting Paris, as well as for the warm and pleasant conversation we had during dinner. I reaffirmed that France will always be with Armenia.

Of course, I know the path your country has embraced as a pioneer on the way to building a stable and democratic country at the crossroads of the West and the East since independence. You are domiciled in a complicated neighborhood, and your country is struggling to build its future as it has always done in history.

Together we will meet Charles Aznavour. Not that I should mention that he is your ambassador and our compatriot, and that he has always been two in one. He will be with us today, but to my mind, he is first of all the devotee of his fans.

He is said to be in Provence at this moment, in Marseilles, where he has a concert, but he may join us tonight. He has always been a vital link connecting France and Armenia, and is one of those people who keep up our everyday relationships, such as the National Assembly Friendship Group President Marilosyan, who is now in attendance as the representative of our common memory and culture.

I will have the opportunity to speak of our deeply rooted relationships forged against the evil winds of history during the dinner hosted by the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France that I will attend next week.

I very much appreciate the role played by the Armenian Diaspora in our international involvement. I would like to communicate with them and listen to them. I also appreciate the struggle that the Armenian Diaspora of France carries on for the sake of Genocide commemoration. I am supportive of their endeavors, and I have great respect for it as I mentioned a couple of months ago.

2018 is a landmark year for Armenia. In May, you will celebrate the Centennial of Independence of the Republic of Armenia, and our European and Foreign Affairs Minister will take part in those events. Moreover, I will be visiting your country at your invitation, for which I thank you, Mr. President, as I am going attend the Francophonie Summit in October and pay a State visit to Armenia at President’s invitation. As we talked about the Summit, from now on, we will work together on its preparations and successful completion.

In this respect, the Yerevan summit is important for three reasons: first of all, Armenia will host a large diplomatic event and will have its place among the Francophone countries in a region where the French language should develop with all the values that it includes.

It is also important for the International Organization of La Francophonie as it is set to play an ever-growing role and become more attractive for many countries thanks to the demographic dynamics of Francophonie. Finally, it is important for France, because the summit comes at a moment when we have decided to reinvigorate the movement of Francophonie, and I will address it in more detail in March.
We decided that the outlook for this summit would give a new impetus to the French language, particularly to the French language in the system of education, trying to create bilingual secondary schools.

We also try to have as much cultural cooperation as possible and develop the French University in Armenia. It is also an important commitment to develop Charles Aznavour Museum-Cultural Center in Yerevan.

We also touched upon the Armenian-French bilateral relations and attached importance to the need for adding momentum to economic ties. We also talked about the investments of French companies in Armenia, in particular in the fields of tourism, renewable energy and food industry, for which we have serious plans to be made public in the coming months.

I welcome the signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between Armenia and the European Union at the Eastern Partnership Summit on November 24, bearing in mind our country’s exceptional approach in this matter.

Finally, we touched upon international issues; especially considering the deeply-seated developments taking place in Armenia’s neighboring countries – Turkey, Iran and Russia. Those developments can be seen as a matter of concern, but also as a motivation to act.

I told President Sargsyan my conviction that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not a frozen one, and that the current status quo is precarious. Only through negotiations it will be given a long-term solution for the benefit of the peoples living in the region.

It will be a solution that will call for bold compromises and specific actions on all sides. The resumption of negotiations on the part of you, Mr. President, and your Azeri counterpart in Geneva last October 16, which were continued later at the Foreign Ministers’ level, are encouraging. They should be followed by specific actions.

I also congratulate us all as the foreign ministers’ meeting in Krakow last week went off in a constructive atmosphere, and I hope that this enthusiasm will take us forward.

We are well aware that the process is still fragile, and the situation on the ground is unstable, so it is an absolute necessity to resume the dialogue and achieve progress.
At any rate, I reassured Mr. President of my personal involvement and my firm determination that France will continue to play its role as an impartial mediator. We closely follow the situation and, together with our Russian and American partners, we are considering any possibility to advance the settlement process.

Mr. President, thank you once again for coming to Paris at the beginning of the year. The coming months will be months of hard work. Thank you once again for your invitation that I accepted with pleasure, and will arrive in Armenia on a State visit this fall.

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