HARIRI, KARAPETYAN AGREE TO ENHANCE ECONOMIC COOPERATION

The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri and his Armenian counterpart Karen Karapetyan held a joint press conference after the talks they held today at the Grand Serail.

Prime Minister Karapetyan said: “The talks took place in an atmosphere of mutual trust. We exchanged views and agreed that the relations between our countries are at a very high level in all fields. In fact we are friendly countries and very close to each other.

We also discussed the economic relations between our countries, and their level is very different from the level of the political relations between us. We have great capabilities to develop these relations.

We tackled the capabilities of our countries, and we are very interested in receiving Lebanese businessmen in Armenia. In this context, we reviewed the potential of Armenia, especially as a member in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), thus benefitting from the GP Plus System of preferences in the framework of its relations with the European Union, as well as other business opportunities that we have.

We also have potentials, very big markets in many fields, light industries, gold and pharmaceutical industries, tourism, and information technology. We agreed to discuss ways to establish a joint Armenian-Lebanese fund to support the initiatives that will be reached.

We spoke about the role of the Armenian community in Lebanon. They are our ambassadors here. They are Lebanese citizens loyal to their country and to Armenia and they can strengthen the friendship between our two countries. I also took this opportunity to invite Premier Hariri to visit Armenia, and we agreed to activate the work of the joint ministerial committee, which has not met for many years, and prepare an agenda that we can discuss in the framework of the joint committee before the visit of Premier Hariri.

We have several meetings during these two days and I am sure it will give a new qualitative push to the relations between the two countries.”

For his part, Premier Hariri said: “I held an excellent meeting with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan who is visiting Lebanon after the visit of President Michel Aoun to Armenia. This is an evidence of the great importance that Lebanon and Armenia, on the highest levels, give to the bilateral relations between them.

Ties between Lebanon and Armenia, and between the Lebanese and Armenian peoples, are historic, deep and solid thanks to the Lebanese from Armenian origin, who represent an integral part of the social fabric of our country and occupy high positions in all state institutions.

It is an honor for me that my late father Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was the first to establish the basis of solid fraternal relations with the State of Armenia since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. We are committed to continue this path for the benefit of both our countries and people.

During our talks we agreed with Prime Minister Karapetyan on the need to strengthen relations and cooperation between the Lebanese and Armenian states on all levels and in various fields including:

– Cooperation in the banking sector where the Lebanese banks are renowned internationally for their deep-rootedness, solidity, competitiveness and ability to finance public and private projects. This sector is the pride of Lebanon and is recognized internationally.

-We also talked about the tourism sector and hopefully there will be cooperation between us.

We also insisted that the joint higher council meets as soon as possible, after the parliamentary elections. We also stressed that we must enhance the historic relations in a practical way. The historic relations are good, but we must work to consolidate these relations, especially on the economic level.”

He added: “The Prime Minister will hold a number of meetings today, during which he will meet with various sectors, especially the private sector, in an effort to encourage Armenian investment in Lebanon and vice versa, and this is for the interest of both countries. As for the fund which Premier Karapetyan talked about, it is being examined and is a worthy idea because it encourages investments and we have to start as soon as possible. Also there are several fields of cooperation between our countries in the technology sector.”

Source: National News Agency