AZAD-HYE (19 January 2005): Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian has left for Egypt to sign in Cairo a Memorandum of Understanding between the Armenian Foreign Ministry and the Chief Secretariat of the League of Arab States, providing Armenia with observer's status at the League.
This move will bring Armenia closer to the Arab World, where about three hundred thousand Armenians live in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, etc.
Armenia enjoys good relations with the majority of Arab countries, although Azerbaijan and Turkey exploit the Islamic factor to force these countries to vote in their favor, especially when it comes to the Karabagh issue.
Before leaving to Cairo, Voskanian praised the ties with the Arab countries and described the tense atmosphere that emerged in the region as a result of the Iraqi war in 2004 as having a "negative effect" on Armenia's cooperation with the Arab countries. He noted that the situation in Iraq caused Armenia's concern due to the presence of an Armenian community there.
"Armenia decided to take part in restoration programs in Iraq, sending a peacekeeping regiment there", he concluded.
It must be mentioned that in 2004 agreement was reached on granting Armenia observer status in the Arab League. Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country which is keeping distance from Armenia, avoiding the establishment of diplomatic relations. Apart from this biased attitude, Armenia's relations with the Arab countries had marked steady progress during 2004.
Arab League was founded in March 1945, when seven Arabic countries signed the founding chart. Today the number of members is 22.