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June 22
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France’s new Ambassador to Armenia Anne Louyot says her goal is to make the cooperation between the two countries in different areas more long-term. She hopes that the OSCE Minsk Group will help to achieve lasting stability in the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict. The Ambassador notes that France attaches importance to taking humanitarian measures and returning the Armenian captives from Azerbaijan. Louyot gave an interview to Armenpress about these topics. The interview runs as follows, in particular:

Mrs. Ambassador, you talked about the statement of the French President on donating vaccines to Armenia. What vaccines the statement is about and when will they be delivered to Armenia? In august 2021, President Macron announced that France will donate 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Armenia.

The talk is about either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. We will inform when we know the date of the delivery. 50,000 doses of other types of vaccines have already been sent to Armenia by France. And the second delivery is already at a preparation stage. It’s still unknown how many doses it would be, but the talk is about quite a large quantity.

France is an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair country, and you are the representative of the Co-Chair country in Armenia. A year has passed since the war Azerbaijan launched against Nagorno Karabakh, but Baku still refuses to return all Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives despite the commitments assumed by the November 9 trilateral statement. What role France can play on this matter as a Co-Chair country, for forcing Azerbaijan to return the captives? In your opinion, what actions must the OSCE Minsk Group and the international community take on this matter?

Of course, I am aware of this painful situation. And of course, France is among those countries who wish taking humanitarian measures, reducing tension and releasing the persons held. Not me or my colleagues, the French Ambassador in Azerbaijan, follow this topic, there is a separate Ambassador, who is France’s co-chair in the Minsk Group and who follows and deals with this issue. We are happy that the Armenian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister reaffirmed the importance of the role of the Minsk Group in solving this situation. We are also happy for the recent meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. And the Minsk Group is working with the sides in order to take new actions in this dialogue process. As the Ambassador of France to Armenia, I hope that the Minsk Group will help the sides to record progress for the long-term stabilization of the situation.

You mentioned earlier in one of your interviews that France is working with Russia and the United States on signing a lasting agreement over Karabakh. Can you please specify what kind of an agreement the talk is about?

Perhaps I didn’t state my words very clearly that time. The talk, of course, was about the efforts of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Co-Chair countries so that they accompany the sides in the settlement process.

But is any concrete document being prepared?

I will cite the statements of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The role of the Minsk Group is to accompany the sides in the lasting settlement process. The Minsk Group doesn’t write any document by itself, the talk is about accompanying and assisting the sides in order to find lasting stabilization solutions for the situation in the region.

Azerbaijan claims that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict has been solved, whereas the status of Karabakh, the issue of the Artsakh people’s right to self-determination are still unresolved. Thus, Armenia claims that the conflict is not solved. What is France’s position on this matter?

I would like to state once again that I am not the representative, the co-chair of France in the Minsk Group. And therefore, these are not the topics over which I have a direct authority. The only thing I can say is that I am fully aware and understand what an impact this situation has on the people of Armenia. I hope that all the diplomatic efforts being made will soon give results.

As you said, you are not the representative of the Minsk Group and are not dealing with this issue directly, but I would like to address my last question on this topic. Till today the incidents provoked by Azerbaijan hinder to start the demarcation and delimitation works on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. What is your assessment to such behavior of the Azerbaijani side and how do you see the solution of the issue?

Of course, France thinks that it’s important to achieve the border demarcation and delimitation. And we, as well as the international community call for making these processes in a peaceful way. It’s obvious that the establishment of a peaceful context will enable to more quickly conduct the demarcation and delimitation works. And of course, this is my wish on this matter.

Earlier reports were spreading that French President Emmanuel Macron will pay a visit to Armenia. What details can you provide? Is a presidential visit to Armenia planned in the future or not?

The President will be very happy to visit Armenia. As he has stated for several occasions, he has great connection with Armenia and Armenians. And he has a plan to visit Armenia, but at this moment the dates are not known.

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