France seeks to take action for the benefit of the process of establishing peace in South Caucasus, unite the international community for the benefit of a peaceful resolution which must include respect for Armenia’s territorial integrity, as well as ensure the rights and security of the population of Nagorno Karabakh. The speaker of the National Assembly of France, Yaël Braun-Pivet told, this to Armenpress in an interview conducted during her visit to Armenia.
Braun-Pivet said that France attaches importance to implementing actions that will lead to establishment of peace, namely the opening of the Lachin Corridor and the release of the Armenian prisoners of war held in Azerbaijan.
Madam Yaël Braun-Pivet, you said on Twitter that you are visiting Armenia to reaffirm the French National Assembly’s support. As you know, these are difficult times for the Armenian people, Azerbaijan is keeping the Lachin Corridor – the only road connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the rest of the world – blockaded, which has resulted in humanitarian issues. What role can France have to make Azerbaijan open the corridor, how should the international community react? And how would you comment on Azerbaijani president Aliyev’s criticism addressed to France?
I came here with a parliamentary delegation to reiterate our solidarity and brotherhood with Armenia and the Armenian people after the resolution we adopted in November last year. France has strongly condemned the closure of the Lachin Corridor, as well as the violations against Armenia’s territorial integrity. French President Emmanuel Macron has twice initiated debates about this situation in Armenia within the framework of UN Security Council session. In October last year, the quadrilateral meeting took place in Prague at his initiative which resulted in a certain agreement. Meaning, France’s efforts aren’t limited to the solidarity we state and display, but also very concrete actions on the highest international level, the purpose of which is to re-establish peace in this region. One of the results of this meeting on October 6 in Prague was the deployment of an EU monitoring team along the border of Armenia which allowed reducing tension. I think efforts in this direction must be continued with the EU. In this regard we don’t understand Azerbaijani president Aliyev’s criticism because France has always wanted to act for the benefit of the process of establishing peace, for the benefit of stabilizing the situation in South Caucasus and South Caucasus becoming a stable region. And we believe that Azerbaijan also shares this goal of establishing peace, thus actions that would lead to establishing peace must be taken, particularly to open the Lachin Corridor and release the prisoners of war who are still being held in Azerbaijan. We are always ready to discuss with all parties because we believe that peace can ensure continuous stability in the region.
In the end of last year the French National Assembly adopted a resolution supporting Armenia and calling for sanctions against Azerbaijan. However, afterwards the French Foreign Ministry said that the text of the adopted resolution does not constitute the official position of the French government. In this case, what effect does the resolution have? And what practical steps can be expected from the French government to make Azerbaijan, for example, withdraw from sovereign territory of Armenia and release all Armenians prisoners of war, among other issues.
Indeed, the position of the National Assembly is an independent position. It represents the position of the Members of Parliament. And even if it’s adopted unanimously, it’s still nonbinding for the government. While the government can have its own views and not entirely share everything that’s said in the resolution. Naturally, we and the government have the same goals, even if the methods are different. First of all, we continue dialogue with the government in order to achieve a joint agreement, but our goal is one, that is – to achieve the establishment of peace in the region with the measures which we have at our disposal and taking into consideration our place and role. But as you know, France is acting in very different platforms, such as bilateral relations, or multilateral relations in European platform. And the purpose is to unite the international community for the benefit of the peaceful resolution of this issue. And this resolution must naturally include respect towards and preservation of Armenia’s territorial integrity, and protection of the rights and security of the population of Nagorno Karabakh.
Let’s also speak about the Armenia-France relations. In your opinion, what are the most successful areas of cooperation between the two countries and in which sectors is there potential to enhance partnership?
There’s a multitude of cooperation and that’s why it’s difficult to rank them. On one hand we have economic cooperation which was strongly intensified particularly during the March 2022 Ambitions: Armenia-France major economic forum in Paris. By the way, soon the French Development Agency will open an office in Armenia. There’s also very serious cooperation in education, particularly the development of Francophonie is being promoted in this area, our ties with the French University in Armenia, as well as the upcoming opening of the French Institute of Armenia. There’s cooperation in healthcare. Tomorrow [January 14] we will meet with a number of NGOs that are active also in the humanitarian sector, providing help for those displaced from Nagorno Karabakh, those affected. And it’s important for us to have an in-depth understanding of this situation. And finally, we signed an inter-parliamentary cooperation agreement with the Armenian National Assembly with President of the National Assembly Alen Simonyan. I think it’s important for parliamentary diplomacy to also be able to be fully utilized and give results.