Yerevan, 21 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Armenia and Lebanon yesterday signed a friendship and cooperation treaty intended to create a legal framework for the development of their economic ties.
The signatories, Armenian Prime Minister Robert Kocharyan and his Lebanese counterpart Rafik Hariri, told reporters in the Armenian capital Yerevan that banking, trade and tourism are the most promising areas in bilateral cooperation.
Hariri, who arrived in Armenia yesterday on a one-day official visit, said, after talks with Kocharyan, that the two sides agreed to set up a joint Armenian-Lebanese bank to facilitate business contacts between the two countries. He said Armenia and Lebanon have a "historic" relationship, and praised Yerevan for what he termed its support of the Arab countries in the international arena. Hariri specifically noted Armenia's backing of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon.
Lebanon has one the largest and best-organized ethnic Armenian communities in the world. It is represented in the country's parliament and government.