President Aoun’s Armenia visit to open new chapter in relations, says Lebanon MP Hagop Pakradouni – EXCLUSIVE
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 20, ARMENPRESS. The visit of Lebanon’s President to Armenia will open a new chapter in the relations of the two countries, ethnic Armenian MP of Lebanon Mr. Hagop Pakradouni told ARMENPRESS in an exclusive interview. Mr. Pakradouni is among the delegation of President Aoun for the upcoming Yerevan visit.
The lawmaker said that regardless of the fact that the state relations of the two countries are on a quite high level - active work is done on the economic, tourism, scientific, educational and parliamentary levels, nevertheless the president’s visit will boost the relations.
“The relations between the peoples of Lebanon and Armenia were always on solid grounds and with this visit this relation will be strengthened even more. New horizons will be opened in the relations of the two countries with the visit of the Lebanese president. Armenia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Samvel Mkrtchyan is actively working, he is making extra efforts in terms of developing the relations of the two countries even more”, Mr. Pakradouni said.
He noted that the president of Lebanon does not like to make many foreign trips especially when currently Lebanon is preparing for the parliamentary elections, and on the other hand under Israeli threats. And the visit of the president to Armenia at this stage proves a rather deep respect.
“I believe the two countries have great potential for cooperation which isn’t used sufficiently. Cooperation should be activated in the economic arena, political sector. There are great opportunities in the tourism sector which must be used. By the way, let me mention in this context that the president’s delegation includes tourism minister Avetis Kitanian”, he said.
Mr. Pakradouni stressed that the Armenian community plays an important role in the close relations of both countries. Armenians of Lebanon are the continuation of Armenians who found refuge in the country in different periods of times. Many were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian community of Lebanon is one of the 7 main communities of the country with its rights and duties. Mr. Pakradouni noted that the Armenian community had its participation in the country’s political, economic, educational, cultural and other sectors in the last decades. Six ethnic Armenian lawmakers are in the parliament, two ethnic Armenian ministers are in office in the government, and many other ethnic Armenians are involved in various state structures.
“The country’s Constitution provides all necessary conditions for preserving our culture, our language and having church freedoms. In this regard I can say that Lebanon is the best environment. 130-150 thousand Armenians live in Lebanon today. Parliamentary elections will be held soon, Armenian political parties of Lebanon will have their participation, and will try to have the best representatives of the Armenian community of Lebanon elected to parliament, who aren’t only representatives of the community, but lawmakers of all Lebanon”, he said.
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun will visit Armenia February 21.
Aoun’s delegation will include Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, Tourism Minister Avedis Kedanian, State Minister for Combating Corruption Nicolas Tueini and MP Hakob Bagratuni.
President Aoun will have meetings in Yerevan with President Serzh Sargsyan, Parliament Speaker Ara Babloyan, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, and the Lebanese community of Armenia.
Issues related to economic and political cooperation will be discussed.
The sides will discuss possible ways to help advance economic partnership and strengthen diplomatic relations.