JERUSALEM (Armenpress) — The Armenian delegation led by Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Artak Zakaryan had a meeting with Speaker of the Parliament (the Knesset) of Israel Yuli-Yoel Edelstein in Israel, press service of the Armenian Parliament reported on Thursday.

Welcoming the guests, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein attached importance to the development of inter-parliamentary ties, the centuries-old friendship between the Armenian and Jewish people and expressed his readiness to make efforts for the cooperation in various sectors, in particular, in cultural , tourism, economic and agricultural sectors.

Yuli-Yoel Edelstein reaffirmed his stance that sooner or later the Knesset must recognize the Armenian Genocide.

“I am not so proud of the fact that Israel has not yet recognized the Armenian Genocide, nevertheless, a certain progress already exists on this path”, he said.

Yuli-Yoel Edelstein expressed hope it would be possible to find peaceful solutions to unsettled conflicts in near future. The Knesset Speaker promised to assist organizing regular meetings between the high-ranking officials of Israel and Armenia, as well as maintaining active inter-parliamentary relations.

In his turn Artak Zakaryan thanked for the invitation and reception and highlighted the role of inter-parliamentary contacts in terms of development of inter-state relations, implementation of joint projects in various sectors, as well as long-term political partnership. He attached importance to the inter-parliamentary Memorandum of Understanding signed recently between Armenia’s Parliament Speaker Galust Sahakyan and the Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, as well as the recent “Armenian-Israeli international public forum” formed in Yerevan. He expressed hope the results of the second forum on January 19 can be visible and can contribute to the strengthening of mutually beneficial public relations in a number of sectors.

Artak Zakaryan presented also the current situation in the region and the Armenian stances on their solution.

At the end of the meeting Yuli-Yoel Edelstein wished success to Armenia’s Parliament in the organization of upcoming elections and expressed hope the Armenian-Israeli ties will be active in the newly elected Parliament as well.

The same day Yuli-Yoel Edelstein addressed a special message to the Armenian parliamentary delegation in the Parliament’s plenary session.

The message reads:

“Members of the Knesset,

I want to welcome the Armenia-Israel parliamentary friendship group. Distinguished guests, welcome to Jerusalem, capital of Israel, and the Knesset.

The Armenian and Jewish people had many things in common during their entire history. In the 20th century, our peoples passed though terrible tragedies, by facing the threat of elimination. We consider the Armenian people our friends and we hope to develop our ties and cooperation in the fields of culture, tourism, economy and especially agriculture.

In recent times, this is the second visit of the Armenian parliamentary delegation to Israel. We hope the mutual visits of the parliamentarians will become frequent, aiming at better recognizing and understanding each other.

Armenia, like Israel, has a great Diaspora, especially in the United States and France. Like the Jewish people, Armenians as well are firmly linked with their Fatherland. The Armenian Diaspora’s number is much larger than Armenia’s population itself which is typical also to the Jewish people. We hope to cooperate with you by exchanging our knowledge and experience on maintaining ties with the Diaspora.

On behalf of the Knesset, its members and personally myself I warmly welcome you and wish pleasant days in Israel and Jerusalem. My blessing to you and your great people”.

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