PARIS — France and Armenia have signed deals on tourism, research cooperation, and the creation of a French university in Armenia.

The agreements were signed in Paris on March 8 as French President Francois Hollande hosted an official state visit by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian.

Hollande said he and Sarkisian on March 8 also discussed efforts to try to resolve the long-running conflict over Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Hollande said “we want to work and find solutions” to avoid a repeat of recent violence.

Speaking to reporters after the talks Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian thanked Francois Hollande for the invitation and warm welcome on the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“We have very similar approaches on all issues – both in our bilateral relations and regional developments,” President Sarkisian said.

“Undoubtedly, the centuries-old Armenian French friendship and historical-cultural ties, as well as the lack of political problems create a solid basis for the further development of our relations in an atmosphere of respect and trust,” the Armenian President said.

He said the high-level political dialogue also forms a firm ground for effective economic cooperation. “Although our economic relations have not reached the level of political ties, we are taking steady steps in that direction. As a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Armenia can serve a good platform for French firms to produce in Armenia and export the production to the 170 million market of the EAEU,” the President said. He added that Armenia’s good relations with Iran can also be used to the benefit of French companies.

President Sarkisian thanked Francois Hollande for the decision to hold the Francophonie summit in Armenia in 2018 and pledged to organize the event on due level.

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