PARIS — France will open a consulate in Syunik, becoming the third country after Iran and Russia to establish or announce plans to establish a permanent diplomatic presence in Armenia’s strategically vital southernmost region.

“We are strengthening our defense cooperation with Armenia. We will have a military attaché at the French Embassy in Yerevan and soon we will also open a consulate in the border Syunik region,” Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Tuesday.

“The fact that Russia has abandoned Armenia and is complicit in Azerbaijan’s military operations makes international diplomatic actions even more necessary,” Colonna added.

Earlier France said it will provide 7 million euros to help resolve the social needs of ethnic Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh. The French side is also preparing to send an airplane with medicines and equipment to Armenia to provide first aid to the victims of the explosion at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday.

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