Remarks by Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on the outcomes of the meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian28 May, 2018
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am glad to welcome my French counterpart, Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his delegation, who arrived in Armenia on an official visit. It is worth noting, that Mr. Le Drian is the first Foreign Minister to visit Armenia after the internal political developments and formation of the new government. The visit of Mr. Le Drian is also symbolic as it happens when Armenians all over the world celebrate the centennial of establishment of the First Republic of Armenia.
The programme of Minister Le Drian's visit is quite rich, since prior to the press conference he has already visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and paid tribute to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, as well as made an entry in the commemorative book of honourable guests. Then, together, we visited the Memorial of Musa Ler. The salvation of Musaler Armenians is also one of the important manifestations of the Armenian-French friendship.
To tell the truth, that visit to Musaler was really a very emotional moment, and I think, that together we have had quite an interesting experience of sharing that emotional moment.
Later, the Minister will meet with President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Today, we can undoubtedly state that the privileged relations between Armenia and France are anchored in the traditional friendship and mutual support of the Armenian and French peoples.
Since independence, we have always felt the support and friendship of France and can proudly state that the privileged relations between Armenia and France are at a high level, and the constant political dialogue, regular state visits at the level of heads of states, deep cooperative ties in different spheres, close collaboration in international structures, and, of course, the existence of a vibrant French-Armenian community attest to it.
We have had a very fruitful discussion with my counterpart on many issues of our bilateral agenda, on cooperation in various international formats, and touched upon the expansion of the legal framework.
The agenda of our meeting included the upcoming state visit of President Macron to Armenia this fall.
We have also held a detailed discussion on our bilateral trade and economic relations, and in that context, we have acknowledged with my colleague that despite of the existing achievements, our cooperation in this sphere, having more potential and development prospects, nevertheless is still inferior to the level of political relations. We exchanged thoughts on joint steps aimed at giving а fresh momentum to bilateral trade and economic ties. French companies have made significant investments in the economy of Armenia and we are ready to create the most favourable conditions for new French investors.
We really paid quite much attention to these issues. It is our common interest to see much more tangible results on Armenian-French trade, economic and investment cooperation. I think, there are prerequisites for it. But, naturally, I will not get ahead of it. What is important is instead of speaking about them, rather see and immediately benefit from them. We think that soon that will have its substantial and practical expression.
I am pleased to note that today we have already signed an Agreement on Establishment and Operation of the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Investment and Promotion Company for Economic Cooperation (Proparco) in Armenia.
We talked about such key components of our relations as decentralized cooperation, educational and cultural ties, as well as joint programmes and initiatives in these areas.
Armenia attaches great importance to the opening of the National Center of Armenian Memory in Paris as well as to the initiative of establishing a French cultural Centre in Yerevan on the basis of Charles Aznavour Centre.
It is encouraging that the Armenian TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies has become a source of inspiration, and that there are plans to establish a similar centre in Paris, which in the future will become one of the bridges strengthening our friendship.
Various joint projects in tourism, agriculture, education, culture, healthcare and other spheres are being implemented each year within the frameworks of about seven dozens of mutual cooperation agreements signed between the cities and regions of Armenia and France.
Both Armenia and France are proud of the French University of Armenia, one of the most successful examples of our close cooperation in the field of education, the university which is in highest demand in Armenian education system. One of my sons is also a graduate of this high-ranking university. I am a parent, so to say, who ‘’confirm the fact’’. It is very important that the educational institution is expanding: this year already it is planned to open/establish a new faculty.
Speaking more extensively about new cooperation in the educational field, I am very glad about the fact that we mutually recognize the substantial potential of Armenia for a quite tangible and strong cooperation in the field of education. We have potential, we have quite an interesting examples of creative education to fulfill and direct this institutional and creative education: that is, a quite strong positions of the French University in our educational system, as well as our capability to pass our experience.
Our attention was focused on the preparations for the Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie to be held in Yerevan in October. In this context, we have reiterated the commitment of Armenia to properly organize and hold this important event, as well as reaffirmed the highest level participation of the French side and active engagement in the works of the summit.
We exchanged views on the Armenia-EU cooperation, the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement and the emerging new perspectives for Armenian-French cooperation in this format. Naturally, this is one of the important questions of our mutual agenda as well.
The Nagorno-Karabakh issue has been touched upon in the course of our meeting. Armenia values the joint efforts exerted by France together with other OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries - Russia and the United States, aimed at the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In this context, we reaffirm Armenia's commitment to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We agreed with my colleague that for the success of the process it is crucial to have an environment conducive to peace.
We had a detailed exchange of thoughts with regards the developments over the Iranian nuclear programme and resolution of the Syrian crisis.
Before turning the floor to my colleague, I would like to congratulate all of us on the occasion of the Republic Day. A century ago, thanks to the unity and unwavering spirit of the Armenian people, the centuries-old cherished desire of the Armenian people to restore the independent statehood became a reality - the Armenian statehood, based on the values of democracy.
I really would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of us. This symbolic fact that the Foreign Minister of our friendly country and nation is in Armenia this very day is very important. I want to thank You once again, Minster, and to give the floor to You.