French leader to mediate Karabakh settlement at Yerevan, Baku visit?

French leader to mediate Karabakh settlement at Yerevan, Baku visit?

PanARMENIAN.Net - French President Francois Hollande’s official visit to Azerbaijan, scheduled for next month, is of great political importance, French envoy said, according to APA.

As Pascal Meunier reminded at a news conference in Baku, visits to Armenia and Georgia are also on the French President's agenda.

He recalled that President Hollande would visit Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

“One of main goals of President Hollande’s visit is to support a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The resolution of the Karabakh issue will open up great opportunities for the conflicting parties. The second aim is to show that as a sovereign entity, the region that can determine its future itself. We support peace and friendship among the regional countries,” the French ambassador to Azerbaijan concluded.

As was reported earlier, initiation of the Genocide denial criminalization bill will be officially announced during Hollande's visit to Armenia.

On January 23, 2012 the French Senate passed the bill making it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide. The bill envisaged a 45,000 euro fine and a year in prison for anyone in France who denies this crime against humanity committed by the Ottoman Empire. However, the French Constitutional Council ruled the bill as anti-constitutional. In a statement the Council said the document represented an “unconstitutional breach of the practice of freedom of expression and communication

Later, President Hollande pledged to redraft the law criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial in France, stressing the need to ensure the legal framework to avoid censorship by the Constitutional Council.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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