YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday welcomed Lebanese president, Michel Aoun to Armenia. The two leaders discussed a variety of issues ranging from the conflicts in the Middle East as well as regional matters affecting Armenia.
In his welcoming remarks, Sarkisian highlighted the role the Armenian community plays in Lebanon and lasting friendship between the two countries.
“I must say that the Armenian community has contributed greatly to Lebanon’s development and prosperity. We rely on them [the Armenian of Lebanon] very much in all aspects. We are a broad society, and the Armenian community has managed to maintain its culture and identity in Lebanon. Of course, we attach importance to and are proud of this pluralism and cultural diversity since we are able to benefit from them and develop Lebanon,” said Aoun in his greetings to Sarkisian.
Aoun arrived in Yerevan on Wednesday and visited the Dzidzernagapert Memorial Complex, where he laid a wreath in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The two leaders addressed the press after a wide-ranging meeting and announced that Aoun will join a roster of world leaders who will visit Armenia this fall for the Francophonie Summit. French President Emanuel Macron and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have confirmed their attendance at the event, which is scheduled to be held in October.
“We underscored the importance of further development of inter-parliamentary ties, especially taking into account that Armenia is transitioning to a full parliamentary administration system from April. We attached great importance to the economic component in terms of development of bilateral relations. We assess the continuous expansion of Lebanese investments in Armenia to be positive. Lebanese presence in Armenia is visible in the banking, services, agricultural and numerous other sectors,” Sarkisian told the press following his meeting with Aoun.
Sarkisian added that he briefed Aoun on the recent developments surrounding the Karabakh conflict resolution process, saying that a final solution must benefit the people of Artsakh.
In the context of discussing conflicts, Sarkisian also reported that he had broached the Jerusalem issue with his visiting guest.
“We also concurred with Mr. President that in the Jerusalem issue the most important aspect is the negotiations process, and these kind of issues cannot be solved with the use of force,” Sarkisian told reporters Thursday.
Sarkisian praised Lebanon for its continued efforts in condemning and preventing crimes against humanity and lamented that despite efforts such crimes continue pointing to the Syrian crisis as an example.
“I presented to President Sarkisan the challenges which Lebanon is facing as a result of the Syrian war, namely the penetration of threats of terrorist organizations and their cells to both our country and other countries of the region and the world. I reassured that Lebanon has successfully resisted these threats and eliminated terrorist cells – establishing peace and stability in our society. We mutually agreed that by relying on the culture of progression, respect of the rights of peoples and states, it is important to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation in the fight against terror because no country can refrain from its threats,” Aoun said in his remarks to the press.
Aoun also held meetings with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
On Thursday evening, Sarkisian hosted a state dinner in honor of Aoun at the presidential palace.