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INTERVIEWS - 4 Feb 2016
I Will Always Cherish this Award from President XI
An interview on Mr. Adnan KASSAR, an awarded of China-Arab Outstanding Contribution Award

“The China-Arab Outstanding Contribution Awarded presented to me by President XI Jinping is one of the most important honor I received, which I will cherish my whole life”. Mr. Adnan KASSAR, Honorary Chairman of General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce Industry & Agriculture, a well-known Lebanese financier told the reporter on 3rd, February, 2016.
Mr. KASSAR is still very excited when talking about his experience of receiving the award from the Chinese President Xi on 20th, January. He said ‘This is an honor I will remember for the rest of my life. This is the recognition from the Chinese government on my over 60 years effort and contribution for the development of ties between China and Lebanon and other Arab countries. As the only Lebanese awardee, I cannot be prouder.’
Mr. Adnan KASSAR, 86-year-old, started to recall his memories with China with a big smile on his face. He said, he has been to China for more than 50 times since the first time he stepped on the land of China in 1953. In 1955, even with the absence of diplomatic relationship between the two countries, with the unremitted effort by him and many others, the first business delegation visited Lebanon and signed the first trade agreement between the two countries, which started China’s trade with Lebanon and other Arab countries.
When he was the Minister of Economy and Trade and Chairman of GUACCIA, he has been making relentless effort to promote the trade and economic relationship between China and Lebanon and other Arab countries and become the best witness to this development. He did not stop this endeavor after he became the Chairman of Fransabank. He attaches great importance to the development of relationship with Chinese banks. Fransabank has set a China Desk in 2013 and issued the first UnionPay card in Lebanon in February, 2015, a product receiving wide attention from the Lebanese people.
Mr. KASSAR told the reporter, China has always been a good friend to Arab countries and we would never forget the help China offered us during our difficult times. At present, China enjoys a sound political and economic relationship with Arab countries, especially the first China's Arab Policy Paper issued by the Chinese government on 13th, January, it has shown the blueprint for develop relationships with Arab countries. It is a big step taken by the Chinese government towards Arab countries and a document of great strategic significance.
Mr. KASSAR believes that China attaches great importance to the Arab countries as President XI chose the Arab world to have his first state visit. The importance of this visit is not only to sign more cooperation agreement but also to discuss the further development of China Arab relationship with the Arab leaders. President XI made an inspiring speech at the League of Arab States, stating the view of Chinese government in the relationship with Arab countries and expressed the political stance to support the just cause of Arab countries, which has shown to the Arab world China’s willingness to expand economic and trade cooperation.
Mr. KASSAR agrees on the One Belt and One Road Initiative and showed great confidence in it. He said, the ancient SilkRoad passed many Arab countries including Lebanon to bring Chinese products to Europe. Nowadays, China-Arab trade cooperation has grown into a new stage with immense potential. He would like to see more cooperation in oil and gas and infrastructure such as road, port, airport, electricity and communications, as well as more exchanges between finance and tourism.

Mr. KASSAR said, I firmly endorse the view presented by President XI on China Arab relationship, and believe the One Belt One Road Initiative will bring historic opportunities for the Arab countries to take the China-Arab cooperation into a new level’ He also said, though I’m in my 80s, as long as I’m still alive, I will continue my effort to make contribution to the development of friendship between China and Arab world’

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