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Statement by RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the Օpening Ceremony of the 17th Summit of La Francophonie

 

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today attended the ceremonious opening of the 17th Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie in Yerevan. The Premier addressed the event with a speech in which he stated, in part:

"Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Heads of Delegations,
Mrs. Secretary General,
Mrs. UNESCO Director General,
Your Excellencies,
Dear Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

First of all, I would like to impart to you the immense sorrow that overwhelms me at this moment, thinking of Charles Aznavour, this personality so dear to our hearts, who passed away on October the 1st.

This great man of culture, this ambassador of the French language, 100 percent French, but also 100 percent Armenian as he used to say; he would have liked to be with us today to demonstrate his devotion to both France and Armenia, as well as to celebrate the holiday of La Francophonie which he served throughout his life; his masterpieces in French have rocked many generations; they will continue to swing many more and will remain in our memories forever.

We mourn him because we loved him. Being an ardent defender of Armenia, our country’s ambassador to international organizations, he bolstered the name of Armenia all over the world, and we will be forever grateful to him.

He has left us and yet he is present in our minds today.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Rather than to hold a minute of silence, I am asking you to salute the eternal presence of Charles Aznavour by our warm applause.

Thank you.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me and for the whole Armenian nation to welcome you here in Yerevan for the 17th Summit of Heads of State and Government of Francophone countries. 
I wish you welcome to Armenia, to this eternal Armenia, the cradle of Christianity, the bearer of millennia-long history and culture, which is celebrating this month the two-thousand-eight-hundredth anniversary of its capital Yerevan’s founding. You are welcome to this real-time Armenia, strong of its identity, creative energy and dynamism, which has gone through the trials of history, marked by the tragedy of the Genocide of 1915, which is heading today for the future, confident in its future;

This new Armenia, animated by the values of the Velvet Revolution, a civic and democratic movement carried by Armenian youths and women who shared with the whole population of our country their desire to “live together” in a free, fair and cohesive society.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, I want to reiterate how much we are honored for the confidence we have in organizing this Summit in Armenia. In this regard, we are fully aware of our responsibility and wish that this event could remain in everyone’s memory as an exceptional moment in OIF’s institutional life, but also as a great moment of conviviality and Francophone solidarity.

Armenia is a young member of La Francophonie; only fifteen years have elapsed since its accession to observer status, nonetheless its firm commitment to cultural and linguistic diversity, the French language and the fundamental values of La Francophonie is well established.

Armenia takes great pride in its membership of La Francophonie, a vast area of cooperation, dialogue and exchange that brings together its member states and governments with respect for their diversity and in an atmosphere of solidarity around the values of peace, democracy and respect for human rights.

We are all deeply attached to the nature of these links that define so well the ideology of “Living Together in Francophonie.” They constitute the common good, the wealth that we should preserve at all costs. It is an opportunity for the whole Francophone area.

This is the full significance of the theme that Armenia has proposed and on which our work shall focus: “Living Together Respecting Solidarity, Humanitarian Values and Diversity as a Basis for Peace and Prosperity in the Francophone Region.” “Living together” must also be considered in the context of the rise of populism and extremism.

In view of the spread of hate speech and the persistence of manifestations of intolerance, we have a moral obligation to oppose the strength inherent in the values and principles that govern the motto “Living together.” Of course, we must continue to relentlessly invest in and foster our aspiration for equitable and sustainable human development.

This is the meaning of our call, which is a strong message in favor of peace, solidarity and integral humanism that we have as the considerable legacy bequeathed by the founding fathers of La Francophonie.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Yerevan Summit will look at other key issues that are challenging us today, including issues of peace, democracy and stability, the fight against terrorism, the fight against climate change and the migration issue that pose so many threats for our planet. In the face of these global challenges, we believe that the answers to be provided must be considered in a multilateral framework; because it is through collective and concerted action, through international cooperation that we will be able to record progress on all these topics.

I will particularly focus on the crises and conflicts that affect the Francophone area and the regulations to which La Francophonie makes a major contribution. These are accompanied, most often, by serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

As we prepare to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, it is our duty to redouble our efforts to prevent the emergence of new genocides, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The persistence of these conflicts binds us to reiterate our firm commitment to the peaceful settlement of conflicts in the frame of internationally recognized negotiating formats.

This is the case of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, negotiated in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group with its three co-chairs - France, the United States and Russia; a conflict that has been going on for several decades now and that has caused so much suffering; a conflict that opposes Nagorno-Karabakh, which for more than 25 years has exercised its right to self-determination, and Azerbaijan, which refuses any dialogue with the elected representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh.

We are convinced that Nagorno-Karabakh should have a decisive voice in the peace process and that its future status must be determined taking into account the expression of the legally-binding will of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The issue of security has existential value for the population of Nagorno-Karabakh. The latter has so often been subject to violations of its rights, discrimination and atrocities that the rejection of dialogue and the renewed attempts to use force against it endanger the physical existence of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh.

We believe that an atmosphere conducive to peace is essential for the advancement of the settlement process, and strongly advocate for swift and full implementation of confidence-building arrangements which are indispensable for preparing for peace the peoples of all parties to the conflict.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Wrapping up my remarks, I would like to address the young people of the Francophone community who are the agents of change in our societies and represent the future of our countries.

I want to tell you how much we value your contribution to the theme of the Summit. We urge you to mobilize for the sake of “living together” and help forge together a more just and tolerant world.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish everyone an excellent stay in Armenia and every success in our deliberations.

Thank you.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders delivered speeches at the opening ceremony of the 17th Summit of La Francophonie.

 

 


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