The President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman gave an official dinner in honor of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Mrs. Rita Sargsyan, President’s Press Office reported.
In his toast addressed to the President of Lebanon and his spouse, the President of the National Assembly, Prime Minister and all those present at the official dinner, Serzh Sargsyan expressed gratitude for the warm welcome on the hospitable soil of Lebanon – the country which is so dear to the hearts of the Armenians.
President Serzh Sargsyan spoke of the past of the two ancient, friendly nations, high-level political dialogue existing now between the reliable partners – Armenia and Lebanon, as well as about the desire and readiness to further deepen and develop interstate multifaceted relations. The President of Armenia wished Lebanon and its people peace, prosperity and unwavering national unity.
“Relations of our two peoples come from the time immemorial, while Armenian presence in Lebanon is centuries-long. I believe it is not accidental that two hundred fifty years ago the first Armenian Catholic Catholicos, who was officially recognized by the Pope, established his residence here, in Lebanon. Armenians have brought their indispensable participation to the deliberation of Lebanon from the Ottoman Empire. During the World War I, the last leader of the autonomous Mount Lebanon was an ethnic Armenian, Ohannes Pasha Kuyumjian who was fighting to save the population of the region from the oppressions of the Young Turks. After his toppling and the autonomy’s destruction, the Ottoman Empire launched a series of massacres in Lebanon.
It is my deepest conviction that the Armenian and Lebanese peoples are more than just friends. At the most difficult times in the history of the Armenian nation, Lebanon became a beacon of salvation for the thousands of Armenians who had been deprived of their homeland. How else, if not brotherly, can one describe our current relations?
Peaceful and creative existence of the Armenian diaspora of many thousands is the best proof of it. And naturally I am proud for my compatriots present in this hall. I am grateful to you, dear compatriots, for making us so recognizable, for upholding our prestige here, in Lebanon as well. It was here, in Lebanon that some of the largest Armenian spiritual, cultural and educational centers were formed, which play an important role in the preservation of the Armenian national identity in Spyurk. The Great House of Cilicia, Armenian Catholic Patriarchate, the only Armenian university abroad – Haykazyan Universy and a large number of the Armenian spiritual, cultural and other values preserved and cherished in this land for centuries bond forever us and histories of our peoples,” President Serzh Sargyan said.