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French Senate Speaker Urges Arms Supplies To Armenia


UKRAINE – French Senate President Gerard Larcher visits the town of Borodianka, which was heavily damaged during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, outside of Kyiv, July 8, 2022
UKRAINE – French Senate President Gerard Larcher visits the town of Borodianka, which was heavily damaged during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, outside of Kyiv, July 8, 2022

The speaker of France’s upper house of parliament, Gerard Larcher, has called on the French government to supply “defensive” weapons to Armenia.

“I called for the immediate reopening of the Lachin corridor, which connects Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and the acceleration of the delivery of defensive weapons by France to Armenia to ensure its security!” Larcher tweeted after meeting with Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonian in Paris on Thursday.

Larcher is affiliated with The Republicans, France’s leading center-right opposition party.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government signaled the possibility of such arms supplies when it sent a delegation of French defense officials to Yerevan last October. They met with Defense Minister Suren Papikian, Armenian army chief Eduard Asrian and High-Technology Minister Robert Khachatrian.

Papikian visited Paris in September 2022 and June this year. He met with his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu on both occasions.

“France must help Armenia to defend and protect itself!” Christian Cambon, the chairman of the French Senate’s committee on defense and foreign affairs, tweeted after meeting with Papikian on June 19.

France - French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu (right) meets Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikian, Paris, June 20, 2023.
France - French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu (right) meets Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikian, Paris, June 20, 2023.

It remains unclear whether the French government is ready to provide any military assistance to Armenia.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian thanked Macron for his “important support in addressing security challenges facing Armenia” when he congratulated the French president on France’s National Day on Friday. Pashinian also praised his “significant and continuing efforts in the process of a just and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna discussed that process with her Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in a phone call on July 7. Colonna was reported to say that a peace accord between Armenia and Azerbaijan must contain firm security guarantees for Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population

In recent months, Baku has repeatedly accused Macron and other French officials of siding with Armenia in the conflict. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev charged on July 3 that Paris is fomenting “Armenian separatism” in Karabakh. Pashinian rejected the Azerbaijani criticism.

France is home to a sizable and influential Armenian community mostly consisting of descendants of survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

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