Francophonie Summit Starts In Armenia
Հոկտեմբեր 11, 2018
Armenia hosted on Thursday a summit of the Paris-based Francophonie organization attended by French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of three dozen other French-speaking nations.
The two-day summit, also attended by government delegations from over 40 other states, is the largest international forum ever held in Yerevan. It highlights what the current and former Armenian governments have described as Armenia’s “privileged relationship” with France.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan opened the gathering with a speech delivered in French.
“I and all Armenian people are happy to host in Yerevan the 17th summit of the heads of Francophone states and governments,” he said. “Welcome to Armenia!”
“Armenia is a young member of the Francophonie … and yet there is no need to prove its commitment to promoting cultural and linguistic diversity and fundamental values of the French language and the Francophonie,” he said. Those values include respect for democracy and human rights, added the Armenian leader.
Macron also addressed the summit, describing the Francophonie nations as a global and diverse “family” that can contribute to international peace which he said is under growing threat.
“We do not have the same skin color, our gods do not bear the same names and some of us do not believe in God,” he said. “We also live in very different climate zones and our songs are not similar. Our histories do not originate from the same sources and there have been many wounds between us which are only now starting to heal.”
“Yet strangely enough, this diverse family is united around a single language … That language does not belong to anyone, it belongs to all of us,” declared Macron.
While in Yerevan, the French president is expected to hold talks with Pashinian. The two men most recently met in Paris on October 5 when the French government organized a national homage to Charles Aznavour, the legendary French singer of Armenian descent who died earlier this month.
Pashinian paid tribute to Aznavour in his speech. At his request, the summit participants remembered the late crooner with rapturous applause.
One of the highlights of the summit will be the election of the new head of the Francophonie. Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo is widely expected to replace Canadian Michaelle Jean as the organization’s secretary general.
France and the African Union publicly backed Mushikiwabo earlier this year. Canada’s government withdrew its support for Jean ahead of the Yerevan summit.
Francophonie Summit In Armenia Touted As Success
Հոկտեմբեր 12, 2018
The leaders of over three dozen mostly French-speaking counties wrapped up on Friday a two-day meeting in Yerevan which Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said has raised Armenia’s international profile.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other participants of the summit adopted a joint declaration that was not immediately made public. They also appointed Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo as head of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).
The summit, also attended by government delegations from over 40 other states, was the largest international forum ever held in Yerevan. It highlighted what the current and former Armenian governments have described as Armenia’s “privileged relationship” with France.
“We can say for certain that this event has helped to boost the international standing of our country and to strengthen the International Organization of La Francophonie and its authority,” Pashinian said in a video address to the nation. “The summit was very well-organized.”
“I want to thank all those people who were involved in organizing it,” he said, naming several senior Armenian diplomats and other government officials.
Pashinian also acknowledged that Armenia’s former government and former Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in particular deserve credit for the Francophonie organization’s decision in 2016to hold its next summit in Yerevan. “Special thanks to Mr. Nalbandian for those efforts,” he said.
The Armenian leader, who swept to power in a wave of mass protests in May, also used the forum to solidify his seemingly warm personal rapport with Macron. Private videos captured the two men as well as Trudeau and Prince Albert of Monaco dancing at an official dinner late on Thursday.
Pashinian and Macron hugged each other before the latter left the Karen Demirchian Sports and Concert Complex, which served as the summit venue, for Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport on Friday afternoon.
The Francophonie grouping comprises 54 member states where French is spoken or where there is an affinity toward French culture. Many of them are former French colonies.
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