A delegation of France’s Socialist party, headed by its leader Olivier Faure, visited Stepanakert last week. The delegation included member of the French National Assembly Isabelle Santiago and French senators Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, Marie Arlette Carlotti, and the head of the party’s international affairs Jean-Marc Germain. The director of the Armenian National Committee of France also accompanied the delegation.
The delegation visited the Armenian Revolutionary Federation center in Stepanakert, where a meeting was held with ARF Bureau chairman Hagop Der Khachadourian.
The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere. The ARF leader thanked Faure, who is the first leader from France to visit Artsakh after the war, which he said attests to the serious and genuine sentiments of the Socialist party for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
On behalf of his delegation, Faure outlined that his part will do its utmost to ensure that the government of France will spare nothing to advance the security of the people of Artsakh, as well as the to garner Artsakh’s international recognition.
The two parties stressed the importance of maintaining the Karabakh conflict resolution within the framework of the OSCE Minks Group and emphasized the need for France, as a co-chairing country, to take on a more active role. They also highlighted the need for France to guarantee the safety and security of Artsakh’s population, as well as preserving Armenian cultural monuments and heritage.
Der Khachadourian thanked the French National Assembly and Senate who supported the recognition of Artsakh’s independence and demanded from the government for France to officially recognize it. Faure said in response that the Socialist Party will continue its advocacy on that front. He said the delegation’s historic visit to Artsakh at this difficult time for the Armenian people is proof of his party’s commitment to the issue.
The Socialist Party also expressed its deep concern about the direct intervention of new players in the Karabakh conflict, saying that their role, which is being advanced based on interests, has further complicated the issue.
Members of the delegation also expressed outrage at the brutality against the civilian population of Artsakh during the war, especially given the heavy human losses. The delegation also condemned the use of weapons containing banned phosphorus agent and the deployment of banned cluster bombs. The French delegation members assured that these incidents are tangible proof that can be presented to international justice system adding that the ARF and the Socialist Party must work together on these issues.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the two parties pledged to strengthen their already close relations.