“Azerbaijani troops must leave Armenia’s sovereign territory” – Nikol Pashinyan, Emmanuel Macron meet at Elysee Palace
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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.