The leaders of over three dozen mostly French-speaking counties wrapped up a two-day meeting in Yerevan that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian says has raised Armenia's international profile.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and other participants of the summit adopted a joint declaration on October 12 that was not immediately made public. They also appointed Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo as head of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).
The summit, also attended by government delegations from over 40 other states, was the largest international forum ever held in Yerevan. It highlighted what the current and former Armenian governments have described as Armenia's "privileged relationship" with France.
"We can say for certain that this event has helped to boost the international standing of our country and to strengthen the International Organization of La Francophonie and its authority," Pashinian said in a video address to the nation. "The summit was very well organized."
"I want to thank all those people who were involved in organizing it," he said, naming several senior Armenian diplomats and other government officials.
Pashinian also acknowledged that Armenia's former government and former Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in particular deserve credit for the Francophonie organization's decision in 2016 to hold its next summit in Yerevan. "Special thanks to Mr. Nalbandian for those efforts," he said.
The Armenian leader, who swept to power in a wave of mass protests in May, also used the forum to solidify his seemingly warm personal rapport with Macron. Private videos captured the two men as well as Trudeau and Prince Albert of Monaco dancing at an official dinner late on October 11.
Pashinian and Macron hugged each other before the latter left the Karen Demirchian Sports and Concert Complex, which served as the summit venue, for Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport on October 12.
The Francophonie grouping comprises 54 member states where French is spoken or where there is an affinity toward French culture. Many of them are former French colonies.