SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Jul 8) reaffirmed warm and friendly relations between Singapore and Armenia, during an official visit to the Istana by Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Mr Lee said Singapore's national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim was a testament to the close historical ties between Singapore and Armenia.
The Vanda Miss Joaquim was the world's first hybrid orchid and was successfully bred by Miss Agnes Joaquim, an avid horticulturalist and second-generation Singaporean of Armenian descent. Her tombstone is within the grounds of the Armenian Church along Hill Street, built in 1835.
"Vanda Miss Joaquim and the Armenian Church attest to the long ties between Singapore and Armenia," said Mr Lee.
"Though small, our Armenian community have left their mark on Singapore history."
Mr Lee also mentioned the Sarkies brothers who opened the iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore in 1887, and Catchick Moses, who co-founded The Straits Times newspaper.
Mr Pashinyan received an official welcome ceremony on Monday morning, and called on President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee. He was also hosted to lunch by Mr Lee.
"During the meetings, the leaders reaffirmed the warm and friendly relations between Singapore and Armenia, building on close historical ties and common interests as small states," said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
"President Halimah and Prime Minister Pashinyan welcomed efforts to strengthen economic, people-to-people and cultural ties."
Mr Lee and Mr Pashinyan also reaffirmed their strong support for the "speedy conclusion" of negotiations for the Eurasian Economic Union-Singapore (EAEU) free trade agreement.
MFA added: "Prime Minister Lee thanked Prime Minister Pashinyan for the progress made in the negotiations during Armenia’s current Chairmanship of the EAEU."
Both leaders also concluded a double taxation agreement and signed MOUs in tourism, culture and education.
Mr Lee added that they were cooperating to establish Armenia's own Botanic Gardens, and look forward to strengthening economic relations through the free trade agreement.
Mr Pashinyan attended the Singapore-Armenia Business Roundtable on Monday afternoon. He will call on Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and visit the Economic Development Board on Tuesday, before departing Singapore the same afternoon.