Nikol Pashinyan, Emmanuel Macron meet at Elysee Palace
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Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today met with French National Assembly Speaker Richard Ferrand on the sidelines of his working visit to France.
Welcoming Nikol Pashinyan’s visit to Paris, Richard Ferrand congratulated him on his birthday and wished every success in future activities. “Mr. Prime Minister, Armenia is a friendly country for France. We are keen to provide for continued development and expansion of our bilateral relations. During this difficult period for Armenia, we have kept in close touch with our Armenian partners; our deputies voiced support for Armenia. We will help you defy the challenges facing the Armenian people,” Richard Ferrand said.
Thankful for the warm welcome, Nikol Pashinyan said Armenia has always felt the support coming from friendly France, including the members of the Senate and the National Assembly. “By saying Armenia, I mean not only the politicians: nearly a month ago there was a public opinion poll conducted in Armenia. Asked about which country they considered a friend of Armenia, most of the respondents said France. Of course, we are eager to see France better represented in Armenia,” Nikol Pashinyan said, stressing the need for French businesses and investors to get more vigorously involved in Armenia. The Acting Prime Minister emphasized that greater attention should be paid to the economic component of bilateral relations.
Nikol Pashinyan referred to the situation established in Armenia following the Artsakh war, noting that the main challenge was the security environment around the country. The Acting Premier gave details of the incidents on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and in this context, highlighted the friendly attitude shown by France.
“France voiced a positive, unequivocal and clear-cut position,” Nikol Pashinyan said, noting that in cooperation with international partners, Armenia is trying to resolve the border situation through diplomatic means. Touching on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Nikol Pashinyan prioritized the role played by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in that process. The Acting Prime Minister made a special mention of the resolutions passed by the French Senate on the need to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence and on the repatriation of Armenian prisoners of war.
The National Assembly Speaker said they closely follow the developments in the South Caucasus. “France stands by Armenia, please convey our message to the Armenian people: We will do our best to promote stability and prosperity in Armenia. You have always relied on us, and you can do so in the future as well,” Richard Ferrand said. The French side reaffirmed its commitment to protecting Armenia’s territorial integrity, stressing the need for immediate repatriation of Armenian POWs held in Azerbaijan, the preservation of the Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh, and UNESCO’s involvement in this matter.
“We hope that the upcoming elections will lead to reinstated national unity on your way to a prosperous future,” Mr. Ferrand said, adding that a new resolution on the return of Armenian prisoners of war is being developed in the French National Assembly. He advised that a delegation of the Armenia-France parliamentary friendship group is going to visit our country in the near future.
The meeting agenda comprised items related to the situation in the South Caucasus, the forthcoming elections and the ongoing democratic reforms in Armenia, as well as several other issues of mutual interest.
* * *
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace. After the welcoming ceremony, the two leaders made statements to the media.
In his speech, Emanuel Macron noted: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to host Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan in Paris. Dear Nikol, we have worked hard together in recent years in support of your commitment to promoting democracy and fighting corruption. I have kept fond recollections of my stay in Yerevan and our discussions held during the Francophonie Summit. This working visit is taking place at a crucial for Armenia time.
Armenia is facing a serious security-related crisis today. In the wake of the November 9 ceasefire, which ended the hostilities in Karabakh, Mr. Pashinyan and I assessed the situation and concluded that even if the ceasefire is being maintained in general, there is still much to be done.
France is prepared to provide assistance for people. First of all, I mean the prisoners of war, including the release of all prisoners of war and captives. The preservation of historical and cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas is also a very important issue. Both Christian and Muslim heritage must be preserved.
As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, alongside the United States and Russia, France is bound by duty to do its best to achieve a de-escalation and re-establishment of dialogue between the parties.
I would also like to refer to the border incidents between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As I have already stated, Mr. Pashinyan, all demarcation and delimitation work should be carried out exclusively through negotiations; in no case should force be used.
The Azerbaijani troops must leave Armenia’s sovereign territory. I call on the parties to return to the positions they stood at as of May 11. We will try to help establish a dialogue.
France will support Armenia in this difficult situation as it has always done, first of all in the humanitarian sphere. Our medical institutions have been cooperating with their Armenian partners. We have also provided exceptional support to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is involved in the search for prisoners of war held in Azerbaijan, their families and the search for missing soldiers.
Mr. Pashinyan and I next talked about economic cooperation. We outlined the opportunities available in specific areas in a bid to help Armenia develop infrastructure and continue with our joint commitment in the field of climate change. This is why I am very pleased to host the Acting Prime Minister today.
Dear Nikol, we stand in solidarity with Armenia and we will continue to do so. France is determined to bring peace to the region in this difficult period. Thank you again and welcome to France.”
Addressing the audience, Nikol Pashinyan said: “Thank you, Mr. President, dear Emmanuel,
First of all, thank you for the invitation. And as you mentioned, we have a hectic agenda to discuss today. Let me remind that the French President has to pay a scheduled visit to the Republic of Armenia, which was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus. I hope we will overcome the global pandemic and other crises together. I look forward to seeing you in the fall, we are waiting for you in Yerevan, Mr. President.
France and Armenia boast privileged relationship; I consider it important to state that the Armenian people, the Republic of Armenia highly appreciate the support received from France and from President Macron personally.
I would like to emphasize that President Macron has spoken the language of truth since the first days of the regional crisis, a voice that has been heard all over the world. This is extremely important. I also wish to emphasize that France and President Macron continue to honor their commitment, which is important in terms of overcoming the crisis in our region.
We attach great importance to the role played by France as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group; the co-chairing activity is extremely important for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and regional crises, as well as in terms of achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.
I am pleased that the Co-Chairs have already made three statements since the end of the hostilities, which in fact evidence their readiness to get mutually involved and resume the negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. And of course, we will discuss it today.
I would also like to thank France for humanitarian assistance provided during this difficult period, but we emphasize the importance of economic involvement. We would appreciate France’s broader involvement in several Armenian projects covering infrastructure, energy, economy, etc. And I am pleased to note that the French government and President Macron himself are interested in contributing to these projects.
I highly value President Macron’s thoughtfulness of cultural heritage, especially in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Republic of Armenia, the Armenian people are eager to see broader involvement on the part of your country, especially considering that as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, France has a commitment and responsibility to promote security, peace and stability in the region. And I am happy to see your continued interest in this matter.
Mr. President, dear Emmanuel, I am pleased to have another opportunity for face-to-face communication. I am confident that today’s discussions will serve the best interests of our two nations and will help bring security and stability to our region. You have to play a crucial role in this respect.”
Nikol Pashinyan and Emmanuel Macron continued the talks in private, discussing a broad range of issues, including economic cooperation, regional developments in the South Caucasus, the steps to take towards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the OSCE Minsk Group framework, as well as opportunities for a peaceful resolution of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
* * *
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan laid flowers at the newly unveiled bust of world famous singer Charles Aznavour in Paris, paying tribute to his memory.
The inauguration ceremony was held at the Place l’Odeon in the Latin Quarter of Paris this May 22, on the day of Aznavour’s 97th birth anniversary. Genocide survivors Aznavouryans found shelter in France and lived in one of the buildings in this part of the city.
The bust was authored by Armenian-born sculptor Alis Melikyan.
* * *
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is paying a working visit to France, later today met with President of the Senate of the French Republic Gérard Larcher.
Welcoming Nikol Pashinyan’s delegation to France, Mr. Larcher congratulated Armenia’s Acting Prime Minister on his birthday. The Senate President stressed the importance of Nikol Pashinyan’s visit, considering it another opportunity to discuss issues high on the bilateral agenda and outline steps to counteract the processes unfolding around Armenia.
Gérard Larcher advised that the French Senate is taking steps in this direction. He appreciated the fact the OSCE Minsk Group has intensified its efforts aimed at finding a comprehensive resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We raised the issue of Armenian prisoners of war with the President of the European Parliament, which resulted in the European Parliament passing a resolution that we assess as quite a positive step. We are not satisfied with this, our efforts will be continued,” Mr. Larcher said, stressing that Azerbaijan’s latest offensive move raises concerns about Armenia’s territorial integrity.
Taking the opportunity, Nikol Pashinyan once again thanked the authors of Senate’s resolution on the need to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence and everyone who supported the passage of such a document. “The document was of great importance in this difficult situation. The people of Karabakh saw that they were not left alone in their struggle. We hope that France will continue to play an important role in the processes initiated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and the Minsk Group will be more active in dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Nikol Pashinyan said, noting that he had discussed this issue with President Macron.
The Acting Prime Minister introduced the steps taken to resolve the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and in this context, touched upon the latest regional developments.
* * *
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at Paris City Hall. Welcoming Nikol Pashinyan to France, the Mayor of Paris said: “Mr. Prime Minister, we have always stood by Armenia and we will continue to maintain close contacts. We have adopted a clear position in this difficult situation. Please rest assured that we will not leave Armenia and the Armenian people alone.”
Noting that he had kept fond recollections of their first meeting, Nikol Pashinyan said that the arrangements made at the previous meeting had been implemented. The Acting Prime Minister evoked the inauguration of a TUMO center in Paris. “Madam Mayor, we look forward to seeing you in Yerevan this October; we will discuss our future plans during your visit. I would like to thank you for your initiative to name a square in honor of Armenia in Paris. This is an important initiative that warms our hearts. I hope that the ongoing cooperation between our capital cities will deepen ahead, especially in the fields of education, infrastructure and tourism,” Nikol Pashinyan said, confident that with the support of its friends, Armenia will overcome the crisis and the population will regain its optimism.
Anne Hidalgo expressed confidence that she will be able to discuss and implement new initiatives with the mayor of Yerevan during her next visit to Yerevan. Speaking about the situation established following the Artsakh war, the Mayor of Paris assured that France will continue to be sensitive to Armenia. “It is not only the fate of Armenia; our fate and the fate of Armenia are interconnected. We will be consistent in our efforts aimed at criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide,” Anne Hidalgo said.
* * *
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with representatives of the Armenian community in France at Armenia’s Embassy in Paris.
The Acting Prime Minister first had a separate meeting with Co-Chair of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France Ara Toranyan, and member of the Board of Trustees, secretary of the local office Petros Terzian.
During the meeting Nikol Pashinyan touched upon the results of his talks with President Emmanuel Macron, the circumstances of the 44-day war in Artsakh, the steps taken to resolve the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the resumption of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process within the OSCE Minsk Group framework and the need to tap the potential of the Armenian Diaspora. In this context, Nikol Pashinyan appreciated the consolidation of Diaspora-based Armenians, especially during the war, and the invaluable support rendered to the homeland. The Acting Prime Minister answered in detail all the questions of interest to the audience.
Nikol Pashinyan’s working visit to the French Republic is over. The Armenian delegation has arrived in Brussels to meet with President of the European Council Charles Michel on June 2. Armenia’s Acting Prime Minister is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Alexander De Croo.
* * *
As part of his working visit to Brussels, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today met with President of the European Council Charles Michel.
Nikol Pashinyan and Charles Michel first held private talks, at which they reviewed progress in EU-Armenia cooperation, the programs envisaged under the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which came into force on March 1 this year. In this context, the interlocutors discussed joint action to facilitate the ongoing institutional reforms and promote democracy in our country.
Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that Armenia is keen to actively cooperate in the framework of the CEPA Roadmap in a bid to promote democratic values, protect human rights, curb corruption, strengthen the rule of law, as well as to advance the reform of public administration, including justice.
Charles Michel welcomed the reforms initiated over the past three years and the steps taken by the Armenian government to strengthen democracy. In this regard, the President of the European Council stressed the need to effectively implement the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. He reaffirmed the European Union’s readiness to deepen and expand interaction in implementing the priorities proposed by the Armenian government.
Armenia’s Acting Prime Minister provided details on the regional developments that followed the 44-day Artsakh War, and in this context, presented the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Nikol Pashinyan stressed the need for Azerbaijani troops to leave the sovereign territory of Armenia. Taking the opportunity, he briefed the President of the European Council on the ongoing diplomatic efforts and negotiations, as well as on his proposal to resolve the situation voiced at the RA Security Council meeting of May 27, 2021.
The Acting Prime Minister said the international community should respond adequately to Azerbaijan’s provocative actions by taking steps to ensure the repatriation of Armenian prisoners of war. He welcomed the resolution passed by the European Parliament urging Azerbaijan to release all Armenian prisoners of war immediately and without preconditions.
The President of the European Council welcomed Armenia’s commitment to finding a peaceful, political solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border standoff and expressed EU’s readiness to support this process.
After the private conversation, the interlocutors continued the meeting in the format of a working dinner.
* * *
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today met with Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Alexander De Croo in Brussels.
The parties stressed the importance of continued development of political and economic relations between Armenia and Belgium, including through high-level contacts. Nikol Pashinyan and Alexander De Kroo reaffirmed their governments’ interest in boosting trade and economic exchanges, investments, implementing joint programs in various sectors of the economy, as well as promoting democratic reforms in Armenia. The need for effective implementation of the CEPA Roadmap was emphasized on both sides.
The parties went on to discuss Armenia’s reform agenda, dwelling on the ongoing police reform. Alexander De Kroo prioritized the implementation of democratic reforms and stressed the EU's commitment to continue supporting Armenia in the reform process. Highlighting the development of economic ties with Armenia, Alexander De Kroo advised that a Belgian trade mission is going to visit Armenia to explore the prospects and opportunities for developing trade and investment relations between the two countries. The visit is planned in parallel with the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Belgium’s Armenian community.
During the meeting reference was made to Azerbaijan’s provocative actions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The interlocutors stressed the need for Azeri troops to leave the sovereign territory of Armenia facilitating thereby the peaceful settlement of the situation. The Belgian Premier noted that he is concerned about what is going on in the region and reassured that the matter shall be kept in the spotlight.
Both sides stressed the need for ensuring the repatriation of Armenian POWs held in Azerbaijan and resuming the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process within the OSCE Minsk Group framework.
After the private talks, the interlocutors continued the meeting in the format of a working lunch.