SINGAPORE (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkisian has arrived in Singapore on a three-day state visit expected to strengthen cooperation with the Southeast Asian city-state that enjoys one of the world’s most developed economies.
On Wednesday Sarkisian met with the island nation’s highest leadership, including President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to discuss prospects of cooperation in various spheres, including education, science, civil service and others.
The Armenian leader was quoted by his press service as describing Singapore as a rapidly developing successful state and a good example for other countries, including Armenia.
The official negotiations resulted in the signing of several documents, including a Memorandum of Understanding in the cultural area and an agreement on the mutual abolishment of visa regime for the holders of diplomatic and service passports.
At the meeting with Singapore’s leading entrepreneurs and heads of corporations Sarkisian discussed prospects of making investments in Armenia. The representatives of the business community of Singapore reportedly showed particular interest in the opportunities for cooperating with Armenia in the areas of information technologies, telecommunications, healthcare, urban development and programming, construction of hydro-energy stations, waste management and water resources.
The Armenian president’s press service said an agreement was reached that Armenian businessmen will pay a visit to Singapore in the near future for the purpose of “translating negotiations and intentions into concrete programs.”
Earlier that day, the Armenian president visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens where an orchid was named after him.
In the evening Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam hosted his Armenian counterpart to a state banquet.
President Tan said people-to-people ties between Singapore and Armenia extended far back into history before the establishment of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
“Armenians were among the first traders to arrive when the British established a free port in Singapore in 1819. Apart from trading, Armenians were also successful in our publishing, hospitality and services sectors,” the Singaporean leader said. “Our bilateral relationship is one that is premised on many commonalities and complementarities. As small countries, Singapore and Armenia share many common challenges and interests and there is much that we can learn from each other…I am hopeful that the historically strong people-to-people ties between our two countries will continue to be sustained.”