Meeting of Foreign Minister of Armenia with Secretary General of the Francophonie and their press statements

18 October, 2023

On October 18, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan met with Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie. The meeting was followed by statements for the press.

Below is the press statement of Minister Ararat Mirzoyan: 

"Dear Secretary General,

I welcome you and your delegation in Yerevan and note with satisfaction that this is your fourth visit to Armenia in the last five years, and the second one as Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie. Such dynamics of the dialogue testify to the high-level relations and close cooperation between Armenia and the International Organization of La Francophonie, and today, during a challenging period for our country and the region, the visit is seen as a message of solidarity and support from the organisation.

Dear colleagues,

Being part of the large Francophone space, during the previous decades Armenia has reaffirmed being an inseparable part of the same value system with the Organization of La Francophonie. The evident testimony of it are the achievements of recent years, including hosting the Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie in Yerevan in 2018 and assuming the presidency of the Organization for 4 years due to the then circumstances, that is, at time we took it for 2 years and then it was extended to 4.

One of the prior directions of cooperation with La Francophonie is the promotion of teaching and spreading of the French language, including through the regular four-year initiative, the National Francophone Program for 2023-2026, signed between Armenia and OIF. We also continue to advance the cultural agenda of La Francophonie, the evident testimony of which is the organization of the two months of Francophonie in Armenia every year for ten consecutive years. This year was no exception, and more than 700 cultural events were organized in Armenia in March-April. Not forgetting the economic component, I would also like to note that we attach importance to the initiative of organizing trade and economic missions with the participation of the business circles of the OIF countries and the opportunities it creates.

One of the manifestations of Armenia's commitment to deepen cooperation with La Francophonie is also the submission of an official bid to host the Francophonie Games in Armenia in 2027, and we expect a positive response from the organization. I am sure that it can provide a unique opportunity for young representatives of the international francophone community to unite around the values of peace, human rights and living together.  

Madam Mushikiwabo,

Dear colleagues,

In addition to the effective cooperation between our country and the OIF, in the current situation, I must emphasise the importance of the organization's solidarity with Armenia, and particularly Madam Mushikiwabo, your clear and targeted response to the large-scale military attack unleashed by Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19 this year.

Yes, that response is important not only to give clear assessments of what happened, the ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh and the policy of its preparation, in order to condemn and reject such a way of thinking in general, but also to protect the future rights of the Nagorno-Karabakh people who have been deprived of their homeland. As a result of the ethnic cleansing carried out by Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh was completely depopulated, once again demonstrating the great gaps of the international system in preventing such situations. At the same time, it showed the danger of directly or indirectly encouraging the use of force in our region and the imperative to restrain it. its restraint/containment imperative.

Currently, Armenia is making all possible efforts to respond to the priority needs of 100,000 Armenians forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh. In this direction, we also cooperate with international partners. I am aware that today you personally met with displaced families from Nagorno-Karabakh, including children.

Being committed to the agenda of establishing stability and peace in the South Caucasus, we emphasise the need for the countries of the region to reciprocate that approach and take effective, clear steps in that direction. For that purpose, we have repeatedly emphasised the mutual recognition of the territorial integrity of Armenia and Azerbaijan without ambiguities and arbitrary interpretations, the urgent need to work towards the delimitation of the state border between the two countries, based on the latest maps of the USSR General Staff, as well as the unblocking of regional channels under sovereignty and national jurisdiction, according to the principles of reciprocity and equality.

Dear attendees,

I would like to add that in today's discussions, we also touched on the need for the immediate return of Armenian prisoners of war and other captured civilians still illegally held in Baku, as well as the need for consistent efforts by our international partners to ensure the protection of 100s Armenian churches and fortresses in Nagorno-Karabakh, which have fallen under the control of Azerbaijan.

Madame Secretary General,

Giving the floor to you, once again, I want to express my gratitude for your visit and our discussions."

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