Statement and the answer of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the joint press conference with Catherine Colonna, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France

03 October, 2023

On October 3, the meeting of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan and Catherine Colonna, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France took place in Yerevan. After the meeting the Ministers held a joint press conference. Below is the statement of the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan and the answer to the journalist’s question.

“Good afternoon. 

Dear Madam Minister, 

Dear colleagues

I welcome the second visit to Armenia of my good friend Catherine Colonna, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of  France. This visit takes place in an extremely difficult period for both Armenia and the Armenian society and people.

As a result of Azerbaijan's continuous use of force and Armenophobic policy, Nagorno-Karabakh has been subjected to factual ethnic cleansing. More than 100,000 Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh had to leave their historical homeland, facing existential threats, fearing for the safety of their lives, families, including women, children and elderly. And that fear was based not on theoretical arguments, but by Azerbaijan’s large-scale military attack against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19, when the civilian population and infrastructure were also targeted. We had the opportunity to talk about it and to voice the issue at the highest international level, Madam Minister, on September 21, in New York, in the format of the UN Security Council meeting, which, I would like to highlight, was convened based on parallel requests by France and Armenia.

Today's reality shows that the statements and efforts made by international actors were not enough to fulfill the universal commitment to prevent mass atrocity crimes and ensure the secure and dignified life of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh in its homeland. I want to emphasize this because due to regional developments the prevention of further use of force or the threat of force, deterrence of provocations against Armenia's territorial integrity, sovereignty and democracy is a constant challenge.

In this context, I would like to emphasize that the Armenian side is committed to the efforts of establishing stability in the region. However, the key to lasting peace is mutual willingness to solve all existing problems through political dialogue. In addition to the expectations expressed by Armenia at the aforementioned meeting of the UN Security Council, these issues include the withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from the sovereign territory of Armenia, ensuring maximum clarity of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on the 1975 map, as well as unblocking regional infrastructures exclusively under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of states, based on the principles of equality and reciprocity.

Of course, the resolution of issues of humanitarian nature, such as ensuring the immediate return of Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians, is of essential importance to us.

Today, for obvious reasons, we focused on discussing the regional situation. But we also had the opportunity to continue our previous discussions on the Armenian-French bilateral agenda, reaffirming our mutual interest and willingness to expand it, taking into account current new challenges.

Mrs. Minister

Let me clearly state once again that Armenia needs and seeks closer partnership and friendship with France.

The same applies to the Armenia-European Union partnership as well as cooperation of our countries in international multilateral platforms where France plays a key role.

Dear colleague,

I would also like to express my gratitude for the humanitarian assistance provided by the French government to address the primary needs of the forcibly displaced Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh.

Once again, I thank you for the discussions in a friendly atmosphere and give the floor to you.”

Question to the Foreign Minister of France. You mentioned in your speech that Yerevan and Paris are going to sign an agreement on the transfer of military equipment. Is it possible to provide certain details chronologically, when is it expected? And for France, is it important for Armenia to stop cooperation with the CSTO in order to deepen those relations?

Answer (Ararat Mirzoyan). In addition to the response of the Foreign Minister of France. I think that Madam Minister gave a more than exhaustive answer to the first part of your question and I can't imagine what more detailed answer you expect. We are talking about supporting Armenia's defense capabilities, we can limit ourselves to this. And the second part of the question - I can assure you that our partners have never put such a demand or question regarding the withdrawal from the CSTO. Thank you.

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