YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has met in Yerevan with Armenian Foreign Minister Zograb Mnatsakanian, a day after Le Drian announced French plans to intensify efforts to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Speaking at a joint press conference after their talks in Yerevan on May 28, Mnatsakanian announced that French President Emmanuel Macron plans to visit Yerevan during the autumn of 2018 for talks with Armenia’s leadership.
Mnatsakanian said he and Le Drian discussed the agenda of Macron’s visit during their May 28 meeting.
Mnatsakanian also emphasized the “privileged” character of French-Armenian relations. He said he and Le Drian held a “productive discussion” on bilateral ties and regional security.
Le Drian, who is on a tour of South Caucasus nations, called for the expansion of France’s cordial relationship with Armenia. He emphasized the fact that he is the first high-level foreign official to visit the country since the recent dramatic change of its government.
“Armenia is at a turning point in its history,” he said during thew press conference. “We welcome the responsibility shown by political forces and the Armenia people [during the political crisis,] which allowed the election of a new prime minister [on May 8.]”
“I am very proud of being the first high-ranking foreign official to visit new Armenia and meet its new leaders,” he told journalists. “France will continue to stand with Armenia and help it to build democracy.”
On May 27, during a visit to Baku, Le Drian said France hopes “that in the coming months we will work more actively to search for the ways of settling” the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Le Drian said the current situation is “not an option” and added that “France seeks peace and stability in the region.”
“We reaffirm Armenia’s commitment to a solely peaceful resolution of the Karabakh problem,” Mnatsakanian said for his part. “My colleague and I agreed that an atmosphere conducive to peace is important for the success of the process.”