YEREVAN—French Ambassador to Armenia Jonathan Lacôte reiterated France’s commitment to not supplying weapons or ammunition to Azerbaijan which can be used to wage war against Artsakh. Lacôte’s statement was in response to Azerbaijani media outlets falsely reporting that France has lifted the arms embargo against Azerbaijan.
“When we found out about the fake rumors in the Azerbaijani press alleging that France has lifted the arms embargo on Azerbaijan, we immediately disseminated a denial,” Lacôte said. “This once again gave us a chance to confirm our stance. France respects its commitments stemming from international provisions to not supply weapons or ammunition which could be used to start war, in this case in Artsakh.”
Lacôte said that the French government supports the Armenian government’s exclusively peaceful stance toward resolving the conflict. He noted that the July 11 meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Brussels was a positive step in the negotiations process. France agrees with Armenia that the conflict cannot be solved through force.
Commenting on the Velvet Revolution, Lacôte said the French were in complete support of the new Armenian government.
“What happened in Armenia was perceived very positively in France,” Lacôte said. “The news media touched upon the political events with great sympathy. It is very important that the changes were taking place in an extremely peaceful atmosphere. I, too, have conveyed to my government that, during that time, no French citizens were in danger — French observers have recorded the same. It was the people who went out to the streets in Gyumri, Yerevan, Vanadzor and other cities. They were neither party nor political forces. Everything proceeded in accordance to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.”
According to Lacôte, the changes convey new dynamics to bilateral ties with France. He found the new government’s commitment to combating corruption and monopolies to be a very important message for Armenia’s partners, especially business partners.
“The creation of equal market conditions in Armenia is a very good signal for all business operators. In addition, a state of rule of law is being established, which reaffirms the ties between our two states,” he said.
Commenting on the upcoming La Francophonie summit in Yerevan, Lacôte said he expects positive reactions from attendees.
“During the La Francophonie summit in Armenia in the autumn, this country will surprise the participants of the Francophonie states with the achievements recorded in the IT field,” he said. “The Armenian leadership has also proposed to hold an economic forum on the sidelines of the summit. The French authorities welcome this proposal. I think this economic forum will contribute to creating a whole network of investors and businessmen which will adopt the priorities of the IT field.”
According to the ambassador, the economic forum will also be a unique opportunity for Armenian businessmen, as they will be able to closely communicate and become acquainted with the Francophonie states and the opportunities that exist there.
Lacôte informed that a TUMO Center is expected to open in Paris in September. After the summit, Lacôte expects that all Francophonie states will desire having TUMO centers in their own countries.