09, 2011

Welcoming remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at the meeting with the Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe and representatives of the Armenian community

Mr. Mayor,
Dear Compatriots,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am happy to be here, in France at the invitation of my friend, President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose role in the strengthening of the Armenian-French relations I highly value. I am also grateful to the Mayor of Paris for the invitation and warm reception.

Celebrations dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Armenia’s independence are accompanied by high level contacts with friendly France, which only adds to our joy.

Friendship of our peoples dates back centuries; however since Armenia’s independence that friendship has transformed into close and dependable partnership of the two states. Last two decades have been signified by the upward development of the Armenian-French relations at all levels and in all areas: regular political dialogue, interparliamentary relations, decentralized cooperation, and cooperation in the economic, cultural, educational and other areas.

In few days, we will welcome President Sarkozy, who will conduct a state visit to Armenia, which is a momentous event in the Armenian-French relations. I am also inspired by our yesterday’s meeting with the French President. I once again expressed gratitude for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide as well as for the clear-cut position and unequivocal stance on the Armenian-Turkish relations, Turkey’s membership to the EU and the NK peace process.

Active interaction between local governance bodies of Armenia and France has a special place in our versatile agenda. Currently, network of the Armenian and French sister-cities, departments and regions involves almost 30 partnership connections. Every year, dozens of joint programs in different areas are being implemented in the framework of these connections.

We attach particular importance to the ongoing cooperation between our capitals –Yerevan and Paris – and Mayor Delanoe’s work in that context. During his tenure, cooperation between Yerevan and Paris has acquired a new content, encompassing new areas and programs.

Installment of the statue of Komitas in one of central places of Paris and opening of the Yerevan Park nourish pride for all Armenians, wherever they live.

You are aware, of course, that this year the Paris City Hall has opened its hospitable doors for Armenian and French non-governmental organizations to celebrate jointly with the Embassy of Armenia in France the 20th anniversary of Armenia’s independence, and for that we express our heartfelt gratitude.

I would like to greet also our compatriots present here.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We realize that your share in today’s high level Armenian-French relations is significant. First of all, it is thanks to you that Armenians and Armenia are not alien words for the French people. Thanks to your repute as exemplary citizens of France, many, many Frenchmen hold esteem and trust in Armenians and consider Armenia a friendly state. You are a unique bridge between the two nations and two states, and I want that bridge to always be strong and solid. It is also my sincere wish that your children and their generations follow your example – be worthy citizens of France and hold high their Armenian identity, bringing their input to the Armenian-French friendship and partnership.

Dear Compatriots,

Very often in our lives, we don’t realize how important we are for our kin, our children and our friends. It’s quite natural. It is natural because when you live and create, when by just your existence and work you become indispensable for your family and friends, you don’t even think about it and don’t pursue that goal. That’s what you are for Motherland, dear brothers and sisters. It’s not important if you’ve been trying to become indispensable for the Motherland with your work and undertakings, or have been just working and doing whatever you believed in or deemed to be your duty.

The fact is that through your activities or just through your existence you are indispensable for Armenia, for all of us, regardless of whether our viewpoints always coincide or not. And for that, I certainly express my deep thanks to you all.

Thank you for being there, thank you for raising your children as Armenians, thank you having such a great role in the realization of our centuries-long dream to have an independent country. God bless you.

Dear Mr. Delanoe,

We are looking forward to your visit to Yerevan coming October for the participation at the annual session of the General Assembly of the International Association of Francophone Mayors.

Thank you once again for your hospitality, and I am confident that relations between sister-cities – Yerevan and Paris, will be developing vigorously.

Thank you.

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