May 13, 2014 - 15:26 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The centuries-old friendship is the basis of Armenian-Russian ties, President Serzh Sargsyan stated at a joint press conference with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, commenting on Yerevan’s decision to join the Customs Union, Aysor.am reported.
“For a long time, we lived in the same state and were linked by economy and culture, which formed the basis of our relations. I think no one considers Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union to be strange. Beside other factors, the Customs Union offers some advantages to member states, allowing Armenia to import energy carriers at competitive prices,” Sargsyan said, noting that all of the above does not suggest Armenia intends to sever ties with the European Union.
"We will continue developing relations with the European Union,” the Armenian president said.
For his part, Francois Hollande indicated Armenia’s peculiar geopolitical conditions as the reason behind the county’s decision to continue its relations with Russia.
“I don’t mean to blame anyone, but rather, try to understand motives for that decision. I want Armenia to continue deepening ties with the European Union,” the French President said.
"Azerbaijan’s attempts to misrepresent the situation and developments around the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement talks are useless," Tert.am quoted the Armenian leader as saying.
The President further addressed the OSCE Minsk Group mediators’ recent statement and the speech delivered by Ambassador James Warlick, the American Co-Chair of the mission, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the ceasefire.
“Nagorno Karabakh’s final status has to be determined based on a legally binding principle stemming from the people’s free expression of will, a statement repeatedly voiced by the presidents of France, U.S. and Russia. Warlick did not say anything new; [the statement] repeated what his president had said on different occasions. No matter how much the Azerbaijani leadership may try to construe those approaches and principles in its own way, nothing will come out of it,” he said.
President Sargsyan warned against attempts to generalize conflicts.
“Every conflict has its own origins and therefore every solution requires a different approach,” the president said commenting on the remarks suggesting some countries use double standards in settlements of conflicts.
The two leaders also dwelled on the issue of the Armenian Genocide, with Hollande commenting on the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's message of condolences ahead of the 99th anniversary of the 1915 massacres. "I'm always trying to be positive, but recognition of the Genocide is the only solution Turkey can offer," Hollande said, confirming his intention to visit Yerevan on the centenary of the Genocide.
Hollande arrived in Armenia for a 2-day visit on May 12.
The French and Armenian leaders had a tete-a-tete meeting, followed by extended-format negotiations. Documents for further development of bilateral cooperation in a number of sectors were inked.
The presidents attended the concert of famed chansonnier Charles Aznavour at Sports and Concert Complex; a state dinner was held in Hollande’s honour at the presidential palace.
The presidents participated in the opening ceremony of a park after the national hero of France and eminent poet Misak Manushyan and visited the construction site of the French company Carrefour's hypermarket.