Statements and messages of the President of RA
Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the meeting with the France-Armenia Friendship Group
Dear Jacques Marilossian,
Today’s meeting is of course a meeting with true friends, for whom to be a member of a friendship group is not an end in itself, and friendship is a great value, who are really committed to promoting the Armenian-French friendship, our interstate agenda, mutual understanding between our peoples. And you have been amazingly successful in that mission of yours.
We are grateful to you for supporting us since independence. You have always been with us and supported Armenia, which is on the path of sustainable development, on important issues, including the promotion of democracy and reforms and the fair resolution of the Artsakh issue.
Meeting both in Armenia and in France, we always have questions to discuss, since our extensive agenda as it befits true friends is dynamic, constantly evolving in tune with our countries, regions and global developments.
I am glad that in keeping with the Armenian-French friendly spirit, parliamentary cooperation is also displayed on multilateral platforms at the Council of Europe, OSCE and NATO Parliamentary Assemblies.
I know, of course, that after the recent parliamentary elections the French delegations’ have been renewed in the aforementioned organizations, but I hope that today’s delegations will continue to cooperate with us and will always pursue the issues that are sensitive to Armenia as well.
Of course, I also highly appreciate the members of the European Parliament. We are not represented there, but I am very grateful to those MPs who remain sensitive to Armenian issues.
2017 was indeed an important year for both Armenia and France. The French people elected a new president, a new parliament. I am convinced that this National Assembly will continue to play a key role in the development and strengthening of France.
In Armenia, too, parliamentary elections were held, which became a stress-test for the ongoing constitutional reform and the newly adopted Electoral Code. And this means that democracy has become stronger in Armenia, thanks to which we can smoothly shift to parliamentary form of government in April.
Obviously, this was a crucial decision that we made based on the traditions and cultural peculiarities of our political field with a view to ensuring Armenia’s long-term sustainable development.
In 2017, the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement was signed. It means for us, first of all, that Armenia, the Armenian people, consider themselves as an integral part of European civilization, loyal to its origins, its creed, our common European values.
We are convinced that there is no alternative to peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I have stated this on all possible high tributes and now I reaffirm our commitment. And, of course, we highly appreciate the efforts made by our friendly and reliable partner France as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country toward the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
At the same time, everyone should clearly realize that the Nagorno-Karabakh problem stems from human rights. And it can be solved only through one of the fundamental and inalienable human rights – peoples’ right to self-determination.
Azerbaijan must recognize and respect Artsakh’s right to self-determination, and the security of Artsakh-based Armenians should be guaranteed with all possible international and internal mechanisms. And in this respect, France may have a decisive voice as it is an advocate of peace and human rights and has always prioritized them.
In this context, I attach great importance to French parliamentarians’ visits to Artsakh, as thereby they can share with the French society what they have seen over there, which can make a huge and invaluable contribution to the fair settlement of the Artsakh issue. Following your example, many lawmakers have already visited Nagorno-Karabakh which, of course, is yielding positive results.
Thanks to similar initiatives coming from other friendly countries, Artsakh’s people is overcoming step by step the propaganda ban imposed by Azerbaijan.
It is a pleasure for me to tell you that the spirit of Francophonie, the breath of France, French symbols will sprinkle this year in our capital. Yerevan is due to host the 17th Francophone Summit in October.
We must voice the extremely important message “Living Together,” and we will be glad to see all of you at this event.
And, of course, I hope you will continue to deepen effective cooperation with your Armenian counterparts, continue to visit Armenia and Artsakh, learn about our experiences, you can disseminate objective information for the benefit of our countries in favor of European democracy, humanism and peace. Your work is really very important to us.
As the French saying goes “Vouloir, c’est pouvoir.” I am confident that through consistent daily work, we can achieve more for the sake of our countries’ well-being and lasting friendship between our two peoples. And I want to repeat Mr. Marilossian’s words:
Long live France,
Long live Armenia,
Long live Armenian-French friendship!