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France will send military gear to Armenia

France will send military gear to Armenia

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PARIS — France will send military equipment to Armenia amid escalating tensions with its neighbor Azerbaijan, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Tuesday evening

“France has agreed to forge future contracts with Armenia for the delivery of military equipment to enable Armenia to defend itself,” she said during a press conference in Yerevan. 

The French minister didn’t provide details about the types of gear France would provide. 

In late September, Azerbaijan declared victory after a lightning military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing ethnic Armenians living in the breakaway region into exile. Last week, Baku officially dissolved Nagorno-Karabakh. 

France and Armenia have long had strong diplomatic ties, with France hosting a large Armenian diaspora. In 2001, Paris was among the first Western capitals to recognize the Armenian genocide, two decades before the United States did. 

In recent months, Paris has been looking to deepen defense cooperation with Yerevan, as Armenia increasingly breaks from longtime ally Russia, since President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

In late September, Colonna announced that France would send a military attaché to the country’s embassy in the Armenian capital. 

Over the weekend, French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu — who is in regular contact with his Armenian counterpart Souren Papikian — said in an interview the newly created defense mission at the embassy would engage day-to-day with the Armenian armed forces and authorities to “assess their needs, particularly in terms of defense and protection.”

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