A government delegation, headed by Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, is paying an official visit to Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. After a private meeting between the Prime Ministers, and the official delegations’ expanded talks, Karen Karapetyan and Saad Hariri summarized the results of their talks with statements made at the Lebanese Government’s Press Conference Hall.
RA Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan: “Dear Mr. Hariri, I would like to once again thank you for the warm welcome and today’s fruitful meeting. I think our meeting was held in a constructive atmosphere of mutual trust.
We stated that in all respects the relations between our two countries are at a very high level. As a matter of fact, we are friendly and close countries. We also noted that our economic relations lag behind the high level of political relations, and there is great potential to tap and develop.
We talked about the opportunities that our two countries enjoy. In particular, we are very much interested in bringing Lebanese business to Armenia. We highlighted Armenia’s advantages and opportunities. We stated the fact that being a member of the Eurasian Union, having the GSP+ trade regime with the European Union and a free economic zone near the border with Iran, as well as a business-friendly environment, Armenia allows access to larger sales markets.
There are many areas where we can cooperate: light industry, jewelry, pharmaceutics, agriculture, information technology, and tourism. We also agreed that we will continue to negotiate over the establishment of an Armenian-Lebanese investment fund to support our joint initiatives. We also talked about the development of solar and alternative energy.
Highlighting the role of the Armenian community in Lebanon, we noted that the Lebanese Armenians are in fact our ambassadors here and Lebanon’s ambassadors to Armenia. Being Lebanon’s devoted citizens, they have a great role to play in the furtherance of friendly ties between our two countries.
Taking the opportunity, I invited Mr. Hariri to visit Armenia. We also agreed to draft an agenda for our intergovernmental commission so that we could hold a commission sitting during Mr. Hariri’s visit.
We will have several meetings during these two days, and I am convinced that we will give fresh impetus to our economic relations.
Thank you once again for the warm welcome.”
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri: “I had a wonderful meeting with Armenia’s Prime Minister whose visit comes in the wake of Lebanese President’s recent trip to Armenia. This illustrates the importance of developing and strengthening bilateral relations.
The Armenian-Lebanese relations and the relations between the two peoples are deeply rooted in history. I feel proud that my father, Rafik Hariri, was the first person to lay the foundation of brotherly ties with Armenia in 1991. And we are committed to moving along this path for the benefit of our two nations and peoples.
We agreed to strengthen and develop relations between Armenia and Lebanon in different spheres and at different levels, specifically in the banking sector, especially as the Lebanese banks are known worldwide and have great potential to finance public and private projects. We are proud of our banking sector’s achievements as evidenced by numerous successful projects.
We will see that the intergovernmental commission could meet in the near future following the planned elections in Lebanon.
We shared the view that the long-standing relations between our countries should be tapped: I personally will closely follow the matter. Yes, I admit that while it is nice to have historical relations, but we also need to develop our economic relations. Today, the Prime Minister of Armenia will hold several meetings with private sector representatives in a bid to encourage mutual investments. It stems from the best interests of the two countries. My counterpart suggested an idea that we should explore in detail. It will encourage investments, and we have to implement it in the nearest future.
We also talked about cooperation in the field of technology. In general, there are many prospective areas where Lebanon and Armenia can cooperate.
Relations with Armenia are of special importance to me. God willing, we can develop them in the future through joint efforts.
Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.”