French President Emmanuel Macron demanded the withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from Armenia’s sovereign territory, during a meeting with Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at Élysée Palace in Paris on June 1, informs the office of the Prime Minister of Armenia.
Macron’s statement runs as follows,
“Hello ladies and gentlemen, I am very glad to host the Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan in Paris today.
Dear Nikol, We have worked hard together in recent years for your commitment to democracy and the fight against corruption. I especially remember my visit to the Francophone Summit and our many discussions. This working visit is taking place at a very important time for Armenia.
Armenia is facing a serious security crisis today. Since the announcement of the November 9 ceasefire, which ended the hostilities in Karabakh (Artsakh), Mr. Pashinyan and I have assessed the situation and noted that even if the ceasefire is generally maintained, there is much to be done. And France is ready to help the people. First of all, I am talking about all prisoners-of-war, including the release of all prisoners-of-war.
The preservation of historical and cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) and the surrounding areas is also a very important issue. Both Christian and Muslim heritage must be preserved. As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, alongside the United States and Russia, it is France’s duty to do everything possible to achieve de-escalation and establish a dialogue.
I also want to talk about the recent border incidents between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As I have already said, Mr. Pashinyan, all demarcation and elimination work must be carried out exclusively through negotiations; in no case should force be used. Azerbaijani forces must withdraw from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia; I call on the parties to return to their positions as of May 11. We will try to help establish a dialogue.
In this difficult situation, where Armenia finds itself, France is by Armenia’s side as always, first of all in the humanitarian sphere. First of all, our medical institutions cooperated with the medical institutions of Armenia, many hospitals in Armenia were selected, which had that need. We have also provided exceptional support to the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is involved in the search for prisoners of war held in Azerbaijan, their families and the search for missing soldiers.
We also talked with Mr. Pashinyan about economic cooperation, clarified the cooperation in certain areas, which aims to help Armenia develop infrastructure and continue our commitment in the field of climate change. It is for this reason that I am very pleased to receive the Acting Prime Minister today.
Dear Nikol, we are in solidarity with Armenia, will we stay? In these difficult times, France is determined to bring peace to the region.
Thank you and welcome again.”