PM: “We will do our best to support the Government of Lebanon and the local Armenian community”
At the beginning of today’s regular Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan referred to the tragedy in Beirut.
I wish to start today’s sitting with remarks of deep sympathy and support addressed to the friendly people of Lebanon and its government in connection with the tragedy in Beirut. On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, I would like to express sincere condolences to victims’ families and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
Lebanon is among Armenia’s closest friends. Our two countries and peoples are bound by numerous historical and cultural affinities. Beirut used to be the capital of the Armenian Diaspora in the 20th century.
For several decades, Beirut has been the epicenter of Diaspora’s religious, political and cultural life. It has preserved its unique significance to this day as it continues to play an central role as the most important center of the Armenian presence in the Middle East.
At this difficult time, we cannot remain indifferent to the needs of the fraternal Lebanese people and the Armenian community in Beirut. The Republic of Armenia has expressed readiness to provide assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy that befell that city. We will do our best to support the Lebanese government and the local Armenian community.
The Government of the Republic of Armenia keeps in close touch with the Lebanese government and the Armenian community structures through the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The basic needs are being clarified at this point of time in order to deliver targeted assistance to Beirut at both governmental and community levels. At the same time, for all those who wish to make individual donations, I would like to inform you that the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund has opened a special account for money transfers with the Central Bank of Armenia and an online fundraising platform on the Fund’s website (www.himnadram.org).
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the Republic of Armenia will stand by our brothers and sisters in Beirut; every effort will be made to reach them and help them out of this difficult situation.
Let me tell you that we discussed and decided today that the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs will soon leave for Beirut to get a first-hand view of the needs of our community and report back to us. Mr. Avinyan, in the meantime we have already prepared a plane for Beirut. Has everything been decided already?”
In response, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan said, “Yes, preparations are underway. The program will be complete later today. Several flight options are being discussed. I believe that by the end of the day we will have the amount, the range and the terms of the proposed assistance. We assume that the flight will take place on Saturday. Several options are currently being discussed in our office. I think they will be finalized by the end of the day, and the flight will be held on Saturday.”