As the people of Lebanon celebrate their National Day on November 22, we extend to them heartfelt congratulations and the warmest wishes of peace and prosperity.
Seventy-three years have passed since Lebanon has become an independent state. It has been a long winding road, with both great accomplishments and terrible hardships. The Lebanese people showed boundless resilience and managed like no other to quickly overcome adversities, restore, rebuild and start anew.
Romania is a longtime friend of Lebanon. Last year we celebrated 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. It does in no way mean that Romania and Lebanon only have relations since 1965. There are references indicating relations between our ancestors since the Roman era. In the Middle Ages the Lebanese and Romanian territories had close relations, mainly on cultural and religious levels. The very first printed Christian church books in Arabic for the use of the Christians in the Eastern Mediterranean were edited in Snagov Monastery in 1701 and in Bucharest in 1702. The printing activity continued years later, making use of the same printing press, at the Orthodox monastery of Balamand, in the North of Lebanon and then at St. John Monastery in South Lebanon.
Closer to our times, the first consular agent for Romania in Lebanon was nominated in 1927. The diplomatic relations at the level of embassies were established on the 6th of January 1965, while the Romanian Embassy in Beirut was opened in November 1966. These very few historical highlights show we have had a long, rich relationship, which developed into a close friendship and a fruitful partnership.
Lebanese businessmen are currently the first among the Arab investors in Romania and the bilateral trade exchanges are extremely encouraging. However, the relations between Romania and Lebanon go far beyond economics. Romania is a vibrant cultural presence in Lebanon: prestigious concerts, organized each year in cooperation with the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, theatre plays, movie screenings, donations of Romanian books for Lebanese universities and libraries, conferences of Romanian writers, exhibitions, the participation to the Month of the Francophonie, the European Film Festival, the Music Festival in Lebanon and other main cultural events, while the Romanian language is taught – a first in the Middle East – in a school in Beirut. These rich cultural exchanges are possible due to the true fondness of the Lebanese people for culture and art and their well-known openness to the world.