YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Prime Minister Robert Kocharian met with his Lebanese counterpart Rafik-al-Hariri–Monday–during the Lebanese delegation’s one day working visit to Armenia.
Kocharian stressed Armenia’s interest in cooperation with the Arab world–especially with Lebanon. The Armenian leader spoke highly of the assistance Lebanon and personally al-Hariri rendered after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. At the same time he said that the two countries have much in common–they experienced difficult times and today are trying to overcome such difficulties.
The Lebanese leader voiced satisfaction in connection with development of relations between Armenia and Lebanon and said that today friends are sitting around the table of negotiations.
Participants discussed a wide circle of issues related to the possibilities of developing mutually advantageous cooperation. It was noted that Armenia and Lebanon have already signed a number of agreemen’s–which create a legal base for the extension of mutual ties. Kocharian stressed the importance of studying Lebanon’s experience in the banking sphere–as well as discussing the establishment of an Armenia-Lebanon bank in Armenia. The sides emphasized the importance of communications for further development of bilateral relations between the two countries. The sides also addressed the possibility of expanding cooperation in spheres of science–culture and tourism.
The two prime ministers signed an agreement on friendship and cooperation between Armenia and Lebanon.
The Lebanese delegation also visited Holy Etchmiadzin.
His Holiness Karekin I note that the large number of Armenia’s who scattered around the world–particularly Lebanon–after the Genocide–hoped for such close cooperation between Armenia and one of their adoptive homelands.
Al-Hariri informed the Catholicos about his meeting with Kocharian and stressed the importance of the agreemen’s signed during this encounter.
The Lebanese prime minister and his entourage–accompanied by Kocharian also visited Dzidzernagabert Genocide Memorial–where a wreath laying ceremony was held.
Late on Monday the Lebanese delegation met Levon Ter-Petrosyan. He highly assessed the level of bilateral relations–saying that mutual respect between the people relied on a strong foundation. Ter-Petrosyan said that the presence of the Armenian community in Lebanon was another factor promoting rapprochement between the two countries.
For his part–al-Hariri stressed that Lebanon regards Armenia as an important partner and a friendly state. He stressed the role played by the Armenian community in the life of Lebanon–saying that Lebanese citizens of Armenian extraction occupy prominent posts in many vital industries in Lebanon.
During the meeting the sides discussed possibilities for broadening bilateral cooperation in Middle East peace processes and also problems pertaining to settlement of the Karabakh conflict.