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Prime Minister Pashinyan to attend pantheonization of WWII hero Missak Manouchian in France

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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his wife Anna Hakobyan have left for France on a two-day visit.

Government officials and Members of Parliament are included in the delegation, the Prime Minister's Office said. 

The Armenian Prime Minister will have a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on February 21. Later on the same day, Prime Minister Pashinyan, together with his wife Anna Hakobyan, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, will attend the pantheonization ceremony of WWII hero, Resistance fighter Missak Manouchian and his wife Mélinée.

Pashinyan will also have meetings with Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, President of the Senate Gérard Larcher and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Missak Manouchian, an Armenian poet and fighter in World War II, will enter the French Pantheon mausoleum and join an elite group of France's revered historical figures, French President Emmanuel Macron announced in 2023.

Known as being "pantheonized," the rare tribute is reserved for those who have played an important role in the country's history.

He led a small group of foreign Resistance fighters against the Nazi occupation, carrying out attacks on German forces and acts of sabotage in Nazi-occupied France in 1943. Macron said in 2023 that Manouchian "embodies the universal values" of France and "carries a part of our greatness."

In 1944, the group, which included a number of Jews, was put out of action when 23 of its members were rounded up and sentenced to death by a German military court. Manouchian was shot by the Nazis on February 21, 1944. By entering the Pantheon, Manouchian will become the first foreign Resistance fighter to be awarded the honour. Manouchian will enter the Pantheon alongside his wife Mélinée, who survived him by 45 years and is buried alongside him at the Ivry-sur-Seine cemetery.

Macron paid tribute to Manouchian's "bravery" and "quiet heroism" in a statement back in 2023, as well as to other foreign Resistance fighters.

Other major French figures to be reburied in the Pantheon include Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Marie Curie, Le Monde reported in 2023.

Manouchian arrived in France in 1925 after surviving the Armenian Genocide.

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