Preparations for French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Armenia in May were discussed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
At the March 13 meeting in Paris, the parties welcomed high level of bilateral ties, also focusing on economic cooperation prospects. As Nalbandian further noted, around 160 French-financed companies currently operate in Armenia. In this context, he welcomed growth of French investments in the country.
The Armenia-EU cooperation in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict was discussed, with Nalbandian giving high assessment to mediatory efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs (France, Russia and the U.S.) The Foreign Minister reiterated Armenia's readiness to continue peaceful settlement efforts jointly with the Co-chairs, Foreign Ministry pres service said.
As was reported earlier, initiation of the Genocide denial criminalization bill will be officially announced during Hollande's visit.
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.