A delegation from the French Socialist Party, led by its leader Olivier Faure, visited Stepanekert last week. The delegation included member of the French National Assembly Isabelle Santiago and French senators Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, Marie Arlette Carlotti and party leader of international affairs Jean-Marc Germain. The director of the Armenian National Committee of France also accompanied the delegation.
The delegation visited the Armenian Revolutionary Federation center in Stepanakert, where a meeting was held with the chairman of the ARF office, Hagop Der Khachadourian.
The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere. The ARF leader thanked Faure, who was the first French leader to visit Artsakh after the war, which he said testified to the serious and genuine feelings of the Socialist Party for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
On behalf of his delegation, Faure stressed that his part would do everything possible so that the French government spares nothing to advance the security of the people of Artsakh, as well as to gain the international recognition of Artsakh.
The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining the resolution of the Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minks Group and stressed the need for France, as co-chair country, to play a more active role. They also stressed the need for France to guarantee the safety and security of the population of Artsakh, as well as the preservation of Armenian monuments and cultural heritage.
Der Khachadourian thanked the National Assembly and the French Senate which supported the recognition of Artsakh’s independence and demanded from the government that France officially recognize it. Faure replied that the Socialist Party would continue its advocacy on this front. He said the delegation’s historic visit to Artsakh at this difficult time for the Armenian people was proof of his party’s commitment to the issue.
The Socialist Party also expressed deep concern over the direct intervention of new actors in the Karabakh conflict, saying their role, which is advanced according to interests, has further complicated the issue.
Members of the delegation also expressed their indignation at the brutality against the civilian population of Artsakh during the war, especially given the heavy loss of life. The delegation also condemned the use of weapons containing a banned phosphorous agent and the deployment of banned cluster bombs. Members of the French delegation assured that these incidents are tangible evidence that can be presented to international justice adding that the ARF and the Socialist Party must work together on these issues.
After the meeting, the two sides pledged to strengthen their already close relationship.