YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday urged members of his government and the country’s diplomatic corps to give a new impetus to Armenia’s trade and economic relations with France.
During consultations attended by Armenia’s ambassador to France Vigen Chitechian, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Economy Minister Artsvik Minasyan, other senior officials Sarkisian spoke about major economic activities being carried out in cooperation with French companies and the importance of French capital for Armenia’s economy.
“The companies operating in Armenia with the attraction of French capital make a great contribution to the economy of our country. Many of these companies are renowned around the world and actively work in Armenia. It is extremely important that the French Development Agency has started active work in Armenia,” the Armenian president said, as quoted by his press office.
Sarkisian also referred to a major reservoir construction project that would provide water resources to farmers in Armenia’s agriculturally important Ararat Valley. “It is common knowledge that still in the 1960s-70s a considerable part of the population of the Ararat Valley dreamed about the construction of this reservoir. An agreement signed at the beginning of this year gives us confidence that in the next three to four years we will build a reservoir that will have a positive impact on the development of the Ararat Valley and first of all its agriculture. I consider important the circumstance that the Business France Agency has started to work in Armenia,” said Sarkisian. “The activities of these agencies and companies with French capital are important not only from the financial point of view, but also because European business culture is being thus introduced in Armenia.”
Still, Sarkisian expressed dissatisfaction with the current level of trade and economic relations between Armenia and France, calling for their boost.
“We have a great potential for the development of economic relations with France and I would like to see what you are doing for achieving at least the minimum level that would suit us, after which we will be able to talk about serious development,” he said, addressing the officials.
Sarkisian, in particular, urged embassies to actively assist in the promotion of Armenian state structures and foundations in France and other countries. He also instructed the economy minister to examine problems that companies with French capital encounter in Armenia and assist them as far as possible in finding solutions.
Last month, President Sarkisian hosted similar consultations with members of the government and diplomats on the issue of developing ties with neighboring Iran after the lifting of the bulk of international sanctions from the Islamic Republic.