Lebanon president accepts invitation for Yerevan La Francophonie Summit: Press statements of Aoun, Sargsyan
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 22, ARMENPRESS. After President Serzh Sargsyan and Lebanon counterpart Michel Aoun held talks in Yerevan, an expanded format negotiations were held with delegations of both countries.
The Armenian and Lebanese presidents delivered statements for the press after the negotiations.
President Sargsyan’s statement at the joint press conference:
“Dear Mr. President,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Once again I warmly welcome the President of the Republic of Lebanon, General Michel Aoun and members of his accompanying delegation to Armenia. Mr. President, this is your first visit to our country, which will likely boost our friendly relations which are based on solid historic ties.
I am pleased to state that our conversation with President Aoun proceeded in a warm atmosphere in line with the friendly Armenian-Lebanese spirit.
We had an in-depth discussion about the entire agenda of bilateral cooperation, we reaffirmed the commitment of our countries to continue deepening and strengthening our multilateral cooperation based on mutual trust.
Although last year our diplomatic relations entered their quarter century, the friendship of our peoples has a history of many centuries, in which, certainly, the Lebanese-Armenian community has its unique place.
We both were pleased to note that during these years we succeeded in conveying a new quality to our friendship: forming close partnership ties in political, commercial, cultural, scientific and other sectors.
We attached importance to maintaining the high level political dialogue which exists between our countries as an important impetus of mutually beneficial cooperation in all sectors.
We underscored the importance of further development of inter-parliamentary ties, especially taking into account that Armenia is transitioning to a full parliamentary administration system from April. We attached great importance to the economic component in terms of development of bilateral relations. We assess the continuous expansion of Lebanese investments in Armenia to be positive. Lebanese presence in Armenia is visible in the banking, services, agricultural and numerous other sectors.
We are zealous in expanding these achievements even more. We agreed to carry out work for increasing bilateral trade turnover volumes. The legal-contractual field regulating almost the entire economic sector exists, which forms an additional atmosphere of confidence for our partners. Overall the nearly five dozen documents signed between our countries serve as a firm basis for productive partnership in different sectors.
We highly praised the effective partnership and mutual support of our countries in international structures especially in matters of vital importance for us. We agreed to continue working in the same spirit for deepening our multilateral cooperation even more.
I presented to the Lebanese president the latest developments of the peaceful settlement process of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. It is our indubitable conviction that there can’t be any solution of the conflict which will anyhow disrupt the right of the people of Artsakh of living freely and safely in their historic homeland. In this context, we concurred with my colleague that whatever the solution be, its basis should be the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to live free on its historic lands. And I have to say that we also concurred with Mr. President that in the Jerusalem issue the most important is the negotiations process, and these kind of issues cannot be solved with the use of force.
More than 100 years have passed already since the Armenian Genocide, but there are historic events and feeling of gratitude which don’t have an expiry date. I once again expressed gratitude to the people and authorities of Lebanon for hearty accepting and giving the opportunity to live and create to Armenian refugees in that cruel part of our history. We are thankful that Lebanon stands with us even today in the efforts of condemning and preventing this crime.
Unfortunately we continue to witness crimes against humanity in the Middle East, namely in Syria. In this regard we attach importance to Lebanon’s practical and effective contribution in the fight against terror and fundamentalism and we assess highly the humanitarian aid for the Syrian people during these years. With its modest opportunities, Armenia has also extended its helping hand to our Syrian brothers and sisters.
I am proud that Armenia succeeded in having its humble contribution in providing stability and security in friendly Lebanon with the participation of Armenian peacekeepers in the UNIFIL mission stationed in the south of the country.
We agreed with the President of Lebanon to continue active Armenian-Lebanese contacts and boost cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest in the same spirit. And I am very happy that Mr. President accepted our next invitation to come to Armenia in autumn and participate in the Francophonie summit.
Thank you Mr. President, and now I am pleased to give the floor to you.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s statement for the media at the joint press conference:
We had positive and constructive negotiations with His Excellency President Serzh Sargsyan. We addressed the process of bilateral relations of the last years, the recorded tangible progress, as well as the main work implemented for strengthening this progress today. Our meeting proceeded in a warm and friendly atmosphere, which reflects the solid human ties which unite us, the unique relations of the Armenian and Lebanese peoples and especially the presence of many Lebanese [people] with Armenian origins. Many of these representatives are accompanying me today – ministers of the government of Lebanon and Members of Parliament.
I drew the attention of President Sargsyan on the reality on what appreciation this segment enjoys in our society, with its vitality, culture, civilization, socially and their influential participation in the political and economic life.
We also discussed the situation in the, crises and wars in certain countries of the region, especially in our neighbor Syria. We agreed over the necessity of finding peaceful solutions to the crises and ending the war machine, because violence gives birth to violence and extremism only, the proof of which are the continuing unrests of the last 7 years which began in our region. I presented to President Sargsyan the challenges which Lebanon withstood as a result of the Syrian war, namely the penetration of threats of terrorist organizations and their cells to both our country and other countries of the region and the world. I reassured that Lebanon has successfully resisted these threats and eliminated terrorist cells – establishing peace and stability in our society. We mutually agreed that by relying on the culture of progression, respect of the rights of peoples and states, it is important to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation in the fight against terror because no country can refrain from its threats.
We also talked about the Syrian migrant issue, which has become harder in neighboring countries of Syria, especially in Lebanon. I presented to the President that our country is being pressured in social, economic and security terms, having one and a half million migrants on its territory, with no sufficient international aid measures to take care of their needs. On this occasion we stressed that it is necessary to work to achieve international mutual agreement which will ensure the return of Syrian refugees to safe areas of their country and it will be under the control of the Syrian state.
I thanked President Sargsyan for supporting Lebanon and its issues in the international arena, then reassured that Lebanon in turn is supporting Armenia in the protection of the natural right of its people to sovereignty, peace and prosperity.
Let me mention that during the talks we addressed the Israeli threats aimed at Lebanon, which relate to our oil rights in the exclusive economic zone, construction of the division wall, which is reaching disputed points near our southern border. I confirmed that Lebanon has protected its land and marine borders with all legal measures, and in this matter we rely on our friends of the international family by expecting from them support in withstanding these threats and not escalating the situation.
I also thanked the President for inviting me to participate in the upcoming 17th Francophonie summit in Yerevan in October and I responded to it, wishing success in the preparation works for the summit.
English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan