Statements and messages of the President of RA
Toast by President Serzh Sargsyan at state supper held in honor of French President Francois Hollande
Distinguished Mr. President,
Honorable ladies and gentlemen,
We consider it a great honor to host the delegation led by French President Francois Hollande having arrived in Armenia on a state visit. I am confident most of you know that Mr. Hollande visited our country already in 2007 and I am glad that today we are hosting him as President of France.
French Presidents’ each visit to our country, along with intensive discussions, changes into a real celebration since everybody happens to be in a good mood.
The special sympathy towards each other stems from Armenian and French peoples’ age-old connections. Touching upon historical sources, we reveal huge legacy of Armenian-French ties. The tomb of the Armenian king of Cilicia Levon the 5th buried next to French kings at Saint Denis king mausoleum in Paris is a striking illustration of close ties between the two kingdoms. Historical sources testify to Armenian translators and architects having a good reputation in the French royal court, active trade relations, the foundation of Marseille’s Armenian printing-house by Voskan Yerevantsi in the 17th century, the opening of an Armenology department at Paris’s School of Living Oriental Languages in the 18th century: by the way, the latter functions till now. Misak Manushyan and his comrades-in-arms of the French Resistance have become immortal in the pages of France’s latest history. Tomorrow, we will have an occasion to pay tribute to their memory together.
I am happy that legacy continues to enrich. I would like to present my deepest appreciation to the unsurpassed maestro, the personification of Armenian-French peoples’ friendship, the honorable Charles Aznavour for making us a present of his vigor of ninety springs with his splendid concert.
These historical ties have obviously left an imprint on our interstate relations. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and France, our agenda has developed in multifarious ways. There is not any sector where we have failed to make achievements be it political, economic or educational and cultural.
The inter-parliamentary cooperation also plays an important role in reinforcing the Armenian-French relations. Here as well the influence of the past is present. I would like to mention the name of the French parliament deputy and the great humanitarian Jean Jaures who was among the first to raise the issue of the massacres carried out by Abdul Hamid in the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19 century. We are expressing our gratitude to France for giving life to such well-deserved persons, as well as for granting asylum and providing a safe future to the Armenian emigrants having escaped from the 1915 Armenian Genocide implemented by the Ottoman Empire. As for you, Mr. President, I am extending my gratitude to you not only as the President of the country having taken that step, but also as the vanguard who condemns the Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide and champion the criminalization of its denial.
Thousands of Armenians repaid France’s kindness. Preserving their yearning toward the lost fatherland and faithfulness to the Armenian identity, they devoted themselves to your country and as model citizens were committed, together with French people, to reconstructing France oppressed during World War, its liberation during World War II contributing their creativity to the prosperity of France and the reinforcement of its international reputation.
Armenia knows that France stands beside it considering all issues sensitive and important for Armenia. We highly appreciate that France– the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair country – makes consistent efforts at negotiating the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Armenia also appraises the support of the friendly country France in promoting the European vector of our foreign policy. Large-scale reforms have been implemented in our country with the assistance of the European Union thereby stimulating the consolidation of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Realizing that it still have a lot to do, Armenia is committed to enhancing the cooperation with the European Union and in this regards, of course, stresses the importance of France’s consistent support.
When thinking about a final viability formula for the Armenian-French relations, we can affirm without any doubt that it is the shared value system of our peoples which sows and strengthens the Armenian-French union. Let me raise a toast in honor of French President Mr. Francois Hollande and the friendly country of France.
Long live France,
Long live Armenia,
Long live the Armenian-French friendship.