YEREVAN, October 6 (Itar-Tass) —— Armenia “can always rely on France”, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview with the Mediamax news agency ahead of his visit to Yerevan to begin on Thursday, October 6.
“I have no doubts that political and economic reforms will continue and Armenia will have a brilliant future,” he said.
Sarkozy hopes that the visit will provide “a chance to express gratitude to… hundreds of thousands of French people of Armenian origin, without whom France would have never been the country it is today. The heart of French-Armenian relations beats only in these exceptional human ties. These relations make our people closer than friends – sisters”.
He stressed, “Our friendship is rooted in history but it was tempered in the Genocide tragedy, when France became a refuge for dozens of thousands of Armenians who have survived the massacre.”
In his opinion, “Inseparable ties uniting France and Armenia were confirmed at that very moment - in the horror of a dreadful ordeal, a terrible tragedy the Armenian people went through, which can never be described by words, and everyone should call it by its own name - Genocide. France is proud by the fact that it was the first country to have officially recognised Genocide by law.”
At the moment when Armenia celebrates the 20th anniversary of its independence, this visit is an occasion to pay tribute to the Armenian nation, Sarkozy said.
“You have done much in hard regional conditions: created a democracy, effectively passed to market economy, play an important and respectable role on the international arena,” the president noted.
He admitted, however, that “many challenges remain, of course, particularly the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in which France is deeply involved as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair.”