“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.”