Caretaker Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan was hosted at the e Élysée Palace by French President Emmanuel Macron.
As ARMENPRESS was informed from the Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia, following the official welcoming ceremony, the heads of the two countries issued statements for the press.
In his speech Emmanuel Macron said, ‘’Good day ladies and gentlemen, I am very glad to host caretaker Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan in Paris today.
Dear Nikol, in the recent years we have done a lot of work together in the sidelines of your commitment to democracy and fight against corruption. I particularly remember my visit to Yerevan in the sidelines of the Francophonie Summit and our numerous discussions. This working visit takes place in a very important period for Armenia.
Today Armenia has encountered a serious security crisis. Since the declaration of November 9 that put an end to the military operation in Karabakh, analyzing the situation with Mr. Pashinyan we note that even though the ceasefire is generally respected, there is still much to be done. And France is ready to provide assistance for the benefit of the population. First of all I am speaking about the release of all the hostages, including war prisoners and other detainees.
I want to particularly emphasize the necessity for preserving the cultural heritage in Nagorno Karabakh and its surrounding regions, which must be done unconditionally. And as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair country, together with the USA and Russia, it’s the duty of France to make all efforts to reach a de-escalation and establish dialogue between the sides.
I want to also speak about the recent border incidents between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As I have already said, Mr. Pashinyan, demarcation and delimitation works should be carried out exclusively through negotiations and in no case force should be used. The Azerbaijani forces should withdraw from the sovereign territory of Armenia and I call on the sides to return to their initial positions. We will try to assist in the establishment of dialogue.
In this difficult situation where Armenia has appeared, France stands with Armenia as always, first also in the humanitarian sphere. Our medical centers cooperated with the Armenian medical centers. Numerous hospitals that needed assistance were selected. We also provided exceptional assistance to the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross engaged in supporting the war prisoners kept in Azerbaijan and their families, as well as the search operations of those missing in action.
We talked with Mr. Pashinyan also about economic cooperation, clarified partnership in some spheres, the aim of which is to help Armenia in the development of infrastructures and continue our commitment in the sphere of climate change. For these reasons I have the pleasure to receive the caretaker Prime Minister today.
Dear Nikol, we express solidarity with Armenia. In this difficult period France is determined to bring peace to the region.
Thank you, I once again welcome you’’.
In his speech Nikol Pashinyan said, ‘’I am thankful honorable Mr. President, dear Emmanuel.
First of all let me thank you for the invitation. And today, as you said, we have a broad scope of issues to be discussed. I want to emphasize that the French President had scheduled to visit Armenia long ago, which did not take place last year due to the coronavirus. I hope that we will together overcome coronavirus and other crises. I am looking forward to your visit in autumn, we are waiting you in Yerevan, Mr. President.
France and Armenia have unique relations and it’s very important to record that during this period the Armenian people, the Republic of Armenia have always felt the support of France and personally President Macron. I want to underline a very important factor, which is that President Macron spoke the truth since the first day of the crisis in our region and his voice was hear all over the world. This is very important for us. I want to also emphasize that France and President Macron continue that commitment and that’s extremely important for overcoming the crisis situation in our region.
I want to emphasize that we highlight the role of France as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair country, and the activities of the Co-chairs’ format is extremely important for the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh issue and regional crises, establishment of lasting peace and stability. I am very glad for the Co-chairs have already made three statements since the end of the war, by which they, in fact, record their readiness to be involved and restore the negotiations over the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh issue. Of course, today we will also discuss the opportunities for that.
I want to thank France also for the humanitarian assistance provided during this period, but we also underline the importance of France’s economic involvement. There are various programs in Armenia, infrastructural, energetic, economic, where the involvement of France is extremely important for us. And I am happy to record that the French Government and personally President Macron are interested in being involved in those programs.
I consider very important the zeal of France and personally President Macron for the preservation of cultural heritage in our region, including and especially in Nagorno Karabakh.
And of course, we highly appreciate France’s involvement in all those directions and the Republic of Armenia d nth Armenian people are interested in increasing that involvement, particularly, given the fact that France has the responsibility as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair for ensuring regional security, peace and lasting stability. And I am glad that this interest is maintained.
Honorable Mr. President, dear Macron, I am very happy for the opportunity for such a meeting and I am confident that our today’s discussions will serve to the friendship between our countries and security and stability in our region. Your role is really extremely important’’.
Afterwards, Nikol Pashinyan and Emmanuel Macron continued negotiations in a private conversation, discussing bother the Armenian-French relations and the developments in the South Caucasus, the future steps for the settlement of Nagorno Karabak conflict in the sidelines of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs’ format and the opportunities for a peaceful settlement of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.