Opening statement of Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the 35th Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie08 October, 2018
Distinguished Madame General Secretary,
It is a great honour for me to welcome you here today, at the site where Yerevan hosted the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie for the first time in 2015. With respect to this, I would like to express my gratitude to my colleague Edward Nalbandian, whose efforts allowed Armenia to assume the presidency of the ministerial conference and to hold the 17th Summit of La Francophonie in Yerevan.
I am happy to be here on the occasion of our Summit, though I am deeply saddened by the passing of a great Frenchman, a great Armenian and great citizen of the world, Charles Aznavour.
This terrible loss, which occured only a few days ago, deprived the Francophonie of one of her greatest Ambassadors. Esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I now ask that you remember with a moment of silence this great artist, an individual who embodied the cultural diversity, tolerance and philanthropy, which serve as the core values of the Francophonie.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a great honour that the heads of francophone states and governments have entrusted Armenia with the organization of the 35th Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie and the 17th Summit of La Francophonie. At the same time, this is a tremendous responsibility, and Armenia fully comprehends the extent of it and is committed to organizing these events at the highest level.
Without doubt, La Francophonie is an important tool for further spreading the French language in our country. However, for us, the meaning of La Francophonie is not limited to this linguistic aspect. For us, La Francophonie is the platform for common values, tolerance and diversity, where we strive to address to the main challenges we face, in harmony with the values that we aim to preserve in the world.
The vast geographical extent of La Francophonie, which includes countries from all continents, makes it an important forum for exchange and cooperation in areas such as the economy, education and culture. La Francophonie gives us the opportunity to better know one another and to respect the important goal of “Living Together” with harmony, mutual respect and understanding. The cooperation engendered by the organization is aimed at the promotion of values which is the guarantee of peace and stability in international relations.
The men and women of our nations have been and must continue to be at the center of the goals of La Francophonie. “Living Together” does not only apply to our governments but to our peoples in general. This is the focus of La Francophonie, where we see tremendous potential for our organization.
Throughout Armenia’s presidency and in the future, we will work together to further promote these values.
In conclusion, I would like to note that our country is undergoing a period that has seen the resurgence of our people’s commitment to freedom, democracy and human rights. These values, embodied by the Francophonie, are also at the core of the Velvet Revolution. I hope that each of you will discover in your own way our new, but at the same time millenia-old nation with its 2800 year-old capital and its unique cultural heritage within the rich tapestry of Francophone cultural heritage.
Welcome to Armenia,
Before we begin our work, I ask that you remember the late President of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang with a moment of silence.