French president thanked for "consistency" on Armenian Genocide

Sarkozy notes France-Armenia friendship

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Wednesday March 10, 2010

Presidents of Armenia (left) and France Serge Sargsyan and Nicolas Sarkozy pose outside the presidential palace in Paris. Armenian President's office

Washington - Armenia and France exchanged traditional expressions of mutual amity between two countries, as their presidents met in Paris on March 10.

President Nicolas Sarkozy "confirmed his country's intention to develop relations with Armenia in all directions and stressed that France was and remains Armenia's friend," the French president's press service was cited as saying by RIA Novosti.

He added that "France's Armenian community is an unbreakable bridge of friendship between the two peoples and countries."

One of the members of that community, Patrick Devedjian, a key minister in Mr. Sarkozy's government was on hand to meet President Serge Sargsyan at the airport.

Another, singer Charles Aznavour currently serves Armenia's Ambassador in Switzerland.

For his part, Mr. Sargstan thanked Mr. Sarkozy for what he termed a consistent approach to the issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition, Arminfo news agency reported.

France is the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, where both legislative and executive branches are on record as terming the Turkish Armenian experience as Genocide.

Whereas parliaments in the United States and Russia have both passed resolutions on the Armenian Genocide, their respective presidents have shied away from the using the Genocide term in apparent deference to Turkey.

Most recently, the Obama Administration in U.S. has reverted to previous administrations' policies of opposing a congressional resolution on the Genocide.

A more concrete relationship

Armenia has enjoyed a warm relationship with France since independence with frequent visits to Paris by Armenian leaders. And in 2006 former President Jacques Chirac became the first and so far the only head of a major Western state to visit Armenia.

In recent years, the relationship began to expand beyond rhetoric and into commercial and military spheres.

Last year, France's Orange became a third provider of telecommunications services in Armenia and since became one of the main taxpayers in Armenia. Previously, Bank Credit Agricole and beverage manufacturers Pernod Ricard and Castel staked out places of prominence in their respective sectors.

Earlier this year, Armenia's Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian visited France to seal an agreement on bilateral defense cooperation.

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