In honor of President Serzh Sargsyan and Mrs. Rita Sargsyan, who are
in the Republic of Lebanon of the official visit, the President of
Lebanon Michel Suleiman last night gave an official dinner.

In his toast addressed to the President of Lebanon, 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.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress