Armenian guard of honor get ready to parade for French President Francois Hollande and Armenian President Serge Sarkisian on May 12, at the Zagulba Presidential Palace in Baku. Hollande starts a three-day visit to the South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia) on Sunday as he seeks to bolster European ties on Russia's southern doorstep amid the crisis in Ukraine. French officials that insisted the visit is not confrontational and is aimed only at boosting the European Union's relations in the region. Much of the focus of Hollande's visit will be on economic ties, in particular in Azerbaijan, where European companies are heavily involved in the country's energy industry.
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