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Another Declaration of Friendship with France was signed on October 22 between the Shekher community of Artsakh’s Martuni region and the French community of Arnouville.

 A symbolic place was chosen for signing the Declaration. In 2002, the school in Shekher was built thanks to the donations by Karpis Nikoghosyan representing the Armenian community of Arnouville. The school is called after his parents Nikoghos and Hermine Nikoghosyans.

            The French delegation comprised Member of the National Assembly of France, Vice-Chairman of the France-Artsakh Friendship Circle François Pupponi, former Chairman of the Friendship Circle, former MP François Rochebloine, representatives of the Armenian community of Arnouville, headed by Mayor Pascal Doll. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh Masis Mayilian, senior staff members of the Ministry of Justice, Chairwoman of the NA Standing Committee on Defense, Security and Rule of Law Janna Galstyan, head of the Martuni regional administration Mher Ohanyan, head of the Shekher community Mkhitar Mangasaryan, school teachers and villagers attended the event.

            The cooperation is aimed at promoting the development of bilateral relations and deepening the relations in the spheres of education, culture, and sports.

            Mayor of Arnouville Pascal Doll welcomed the participants in Armenian. Many Armenians, who survived the Armenian Genocide, settled in this French town and, like great singer Charles Aznavour, they are both Armenian and French. According to the Mayor of Arnouville, the struggle for the independence of the Artsakh people is also the struggle of the French people, and as a result of that struggle, the Republic of Artsakh will achieve its international recognition. He wished all the best to the residents of Shekher and longevity to the France-Artsakh friendly relations.

            The signing of the Declaration of Friendship was really a great event for the Shekher inhabitants. Community leader Mkhitar Mangasaryan expressed his gratitude on this occasion, noting that friendship is based on human values and democracy. He also expressed his gratitude to the French people for their multi-year support for Artsakh. According to the Mayor, it will be possible to cooperate in different spheres, to develop joint programs, and to exchange experiences.

            Following the signing of the Friendship Declaration, a great friend of Artsakh, Francois Rochebloine, delivered a speech. After welcoming the attendees, he addressed the schoolchildren, noting that they are to build the future of the country, to keep and multiply today's achievements. He expressed his deep human and friendly feelings towards Artsakh. In fact, Arnouville became the 13th town to sign a Declaration of Friendship with Artsakh. Friendship relations were also established between the towns of Shushi and Saint Etienne. These ties are important not only for Artsakh communities, but also for France. “Today, I am not a Member of the National Assembly of France, but I will continue struggling, together with Mr. Pupponi, that one day the French Republic recognizes the Republic of Artsakh", said Rochebloine.

            Member of the National Assembly of France, Vice-Chairman of the France-Artsakh Friendship Circle François Pupponi expressed his admiration for the Artsakh people - the people living and working here are worthy of admiration, because they protect the principles based on universal values, protect what belongs to them. He expressed his great desire that the children of the warring country live in lasting peace. He is confident that France, as a cradle of democracy and humanism, will continue struggling for the rights of the Artsakh people.


Ruzan Ishkhanian