Agreement on arms transfers from France
The Armenian Defense Minister is on a working visit to Paris. The French military ministry’s X account published a report according to which Prime Ministers Suren Papikyan and Sebastien Lecornu met to “formalize the acquisition of weapons that will allow Armenia to protect civilians and secure its borders”.
The details of the agreement have not yet been disclosed. The volume and type of weapons, when and by what route they will reach Armenia, are unknown. The French Armed Forces Minister said in an interview with Le Parisien that an “agreement will be signed that will allow Armenia to ensure the defense of its skies.”
In early October, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna also stated in Yerevan that she was ready to sign a document with Yerevan on the supply of French military equipment.
Political observer Hakob Badalyan believes that the conclusion of the agreement is undoubtedly important from the point of view of replenishing and modernizing Armenia’s armaments and increasing the country’s defense capacity. At the same time, he emphasizes that it is important to understand where the Armenian authorities are going: “whether they are looking for a new guardian or an important political partner in the person of France”.
Despite the heightened interest of Armenian residents in the issue of acquiring French weapons, the Defense Ministry published only one sentence before Suren Papikyan’s visit to France. It was reported that the Armenian Minister left for Paris on a working visit at the invitation of his French counterpart.
Journalists tried to find out some details from the Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Defense and Security Affairs Andranik Kocharyan. He replied that during the meeting with Lecornu, “many issues will be discussed, including some elements of military cooperation”.
Kocharyan stressed that the 2020 Karabakh war revealed the necessity not only to have friends, but also to build relations that will make the country’s security “more inclusive” and give an opportunity to ensure stable defense.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said the countries will sign a corresponding agreement for French arms supplies
Political observer Hakob Badalyan believes that the agreement on military-technical cooperation between Armenia and France essentially means a new level of political relations. He wonders “what kind of complement Armenian-French interstate relations will receive at this new level” in terms of political content:
“This is the main question that will also determine the international value, the “currency rate” of the new level of Armenian-French political relations, the degree of Armenia’s subjectivity in them. Thus, the starting points for the attention and interest of other players to the new level of these relations will be formed.”
According to Badalyan, France seeks to increase cooperation with Armenia based on its strategic views and interests. And this means that “Armenia should form a counter position in terms of its content.”
Badalyan puts forward two key issues:
- Armenia through France is looking for a new patron or an important political partner,
- Is Armenia’s current political elite capable of being a partner rather than a consumer of French interests?
He believes that if Yerevan gives its relations with Paris a serious political content, it will become “a prerequisite for new opportunities in other areas of partnership.”