BEIRUT — Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian underscored Monday the importance of deepening bilateral relations between Armenia and Lebanon during the first day of his visit to Beirut, which also saw the signing of two agreements between the countries.
Sarkisian said the three-day trip reflects the importance of Armenian-Lebanese cooperation 20 years after the two countries signed their first bilateral agreements.
“I expressed to President Michel Sleiman the importance of cooperation with Lebanon on the global level,” he said.
“For our part, we have already taken the necessary measures to encourage [Lebanese] investors to come to Armenia,” Sargsyan added.
At a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Sarkisian stated that Armenia is very concerned about the situation in Syria and the fate of thousands of ethnic Armenians who live there, the Armenian leader stressed that the Syrian people once gave refuge to hundreds of thousands of Armenians fleeing massacres in Ottoman Turkey and implied that Armenia could not remain indifferent to the problems in this country.
“We are worried about the Syrian people; their pain is also our pain,” the president said.
The morning meeting saw the signing of the two agreements. One will abolish visas for diplomats and the other will allow the countries to recognize each other’s university diplomas.
“We affirmed the mutual desire to strengthen ties between the two countries and focused on the need to strengthen cultural and social cooperation,” Sleiman said.
Sleiman also said he told Sarkisian of his efforts to launch National Dialogue and distance Lebanon from regional conflicts.
Accompanied by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and Information Minister Walid Daouk, Sargsyan then headed to Downtown Beirut and placed a wreath of flowers in honor of the Lebanese martyrs at Martyrs Square.
Sarkisian also called for the development of bilateral relations and said that such visits play an important role in strengthening relations.
“We know the circumstances that the region is going through and we hope that Lebanon can overcome all the difficulties and we also hope that the situation here remains stable.”