Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Aznavour to become Armenian envoy

Charles Aznavour (19 January 2009)
Mr Aznavour currently lives in the Swiss city of Geneva

The veteran French singer, Charles Aznavour, says he has agreed to become ambassador to Switzerland for his ancestral homeland of Armenia.

Mr Aznavour, 84, told Armenian TV that although initially hesitant, he had accepted the offer with "pleasure, joy and a deep feeling of honour".

He was born Shahnur Aznavourian in Paris in 1924 to Armenian immigrants.

Even during the Soviet era, Mr Aznavour maintained close ties with Armenia. He was granted citizenship in December.

After an earthquake in 1988 killed 25,000 people, he set up the Aznavour for Armenia committee to help survivors.


The following year, he wrote and recorded a charity single, Pour Toi Armenie, which sold more than a million copies.

"It is a great honour that Armenia proposed that I become its ambassador," said Mr Aznavour, who currently lives in Geneva.

"At first I hesitated, as I thought that this is no easy matter. But then I thought that, in the end, what is important for Armenia must be important for all of us. I accepted the proposal with pleasure, joy and a deep feeling of honour."

Mr Aznavour, dubbed the "French Frank Sinatra", performed his last major concert in 2001 after more than six decades of entertaining.

He is best known for romantic love ballads such as Yesterday When I Was Young, and had a number one hit in the UK in 1974 with She.

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