Presidents of Armenia, Lebanon discuss regional developments

Armenia and Lebanon agreed Monday to abolish visas between the two countries and to mutually recognize college diplomas.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and President Michel Suleiman signed the two agreements at Baabda Palace upon the arrival of the former to Lebanon, the Daily Star reports.

According to Suleiman’s office, the two signed an agreement “to mutually abolish visas for the two countries and recognize college diplomas,” in the presence of the Armenian delegation and several Lebanese ministers.

Sargsyan also discussed with Sleiman bilateral agreements aimed at improving ties between the two countries.

In a joint news conference at Baabda Palace, Sargsyan said he held “productive talks” with Suleiman and discussed ways to widen the scope ties between Lebanon and Armenia.

“This year marks 20 years since we began bilateral relations,” Sargsyan said.

“We have signed 30 agreements since then and we will add two more with this visit,” he added.

Sargsyan also thanked Lebanon as a people and government for granting Armenians shelter and allowing them to incorporate into society.

For his part, Suleiman said he informed the Armenian official of his efforts to launch dialogue and distance Lebanon from regional conflicts.

“We affirmed the mutual desire to strengthen ties between the two countries and focused on the need to strengthen cultural and social cooperation,” Suleiman said.

The two also discussed changes in the Arab world and the 8-day conflict between Israel and Hamas which ended last week with a shaky truce. They also discussed means for a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

On Syria, the two agreed that the only optimal solution for the 21-month-old crisis was a political solution based on dialogue without any military intervention.

Sargsyan voiced his concern over the fate of the Syrian people. “Armenia has always stood against bloodshed, and it is impossible for the situation in Syria to be resolved without dialogue,” Sargsyan said.

He stated that “Armenia continues the efforts to establish stability in the South Caucasus region, adding that “Azerbaijan turns down all suggestions of the OSCE Minsk Group and is preparing its people for a new war, and the pardoning of a murderer is an outstanding example,” the National News Agency reported.

Sargsyan will also meet Prime Minister Najib Mikati later Monday at the Grand Serail.

Speaker Nabih Berri will hold a lunch in honor of the Armenian official in his Ain el-Tineh residence in the presence of Lebanese MPs.

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