“France stands by Armenia; you can rely on us now and in the future” - Nikol Pashinyan Meets with Richard Ferrand
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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.