The cooperation memo was signed in the presence of MP Jean Ogassapian, Chairman of the National Media Council Abdel-Hadi Mahfouz, Director-General of the Ministry of Information Dr. Hassan Falha, Advisor of the caretaker Minister of Information, Andre Qassas, as well as concerned officials and dignitaries.
The MoI's Director General delivered a statement on this occasion whereby he welcomed "this step initiated by the Director of the National News Agency, Laure Sleiman - upon the approval of Minister Walid Daouk - to sign this agreement with one of the most essential organizations within the private sector."
"This agreement has more than one indication, on top of which having achieved cooperation between the public and the private sectors," Falha said.
"The National Agency is known for being one of the key agencies in the Arab world. It has a pioneering role as it was created and established before any other in the Arab world. It is famous for its objectivity, expertise and good management which empowered it to remain in the first place. Your Organization, however, managed to stretch to the entire world and proved good management for the private sector's productivity and effectiveness," Falha went on.
"What we are witnessing today is a twinning between the two sectors; a twinning that achieves strategic objectives at the level of the Arab countries," he said, assuring that the main goals are to attain integration between the public and private sectors and re-produce the true image of the Arab world.
The Director General believed that "this agreement could be a prelude for other memos to be circulated throughout the Arab world," thanking Sleiman for her unyielding efforts and Minister Daouk for granting the approval to proceed with this agreement.
He finally praised the endeavors of Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh to promote media and non-media work within the Arab States.
The Director of the NNA also spoke on this pleasant occasion, welcoming Abu-Ghazaleh in Beirut "which never ceases to open its arms for every man of though, knowledge and culture."
"It is true that we are suffering terrorism, but what is also true is that Beirut will remain a mosaic of civilizations and a source of inspiration to poets," Sleiman said at the beginning of her speech.
"We meet today to sign with the Chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization a memorandum of understanding in the fields of development of media and technical services, as well as human resources. This collaboration falls within the framework of cooperation agreements signed with different Arab and international news agencies," she explained.
"Some may wonder how it is feasible to sign a cooperation agreement with a private company, in our capacity as news agency affiliated with the Ministry of Information, hence the public sector. I would like to confirm, in this context, that this agreement comes as an embodiment of our belief in the necessity to boost cooperation between the public and the private sectors, especially that Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Associates Limited is a Lebanese company known for its long history in serious institutional work."
"The memo comes in line with the policy of the National News Agency in raising the level of services and working to improve them to keep pace with the technological development taking place in the world," Sleiman corroborated, deeming utterly beneficial the cooperation with TAG-Org which enjoys great reputation worldwide in terms of professionalism.
She pointed out that "this agreement will contribute to the expansion of the services provided, in terms of developing the website of the Agency and improving media and technical cooperation with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Group which is concerned in Intellectual Property, Education and Media Management."
She also explained that free training courses would be provided to the NNA staff, according to the plan set by Abu-Ghazaleh Professional Training - Beirut office.
The agreement also includes finding electronic solutions to save the Photo Archive of the National News Agency which contains two million two hundred thousand negative images.
"It is a great pleasure and a source of pride for the NNA and the Ministry of Information to cooperate with you, the owner of Tagipedia, the cultural and intellectual project," Sleiman concluded, thanking the Minister of Information and the Ministry's Director General for paving the way to signing this agreement.
Following Sleiman's statement, Abu-Ghazaleh thanked Falha for his presence and extended appreciation for Daouk's approval of this agreement.
Addressing Ms. Sleiman, Abu-Ghazaleh asserted that "this accord has not only professional backgrounds, but also personal inclinations emanating from the special ties he has always had with Lebanon, the country that hosted him and offered him the best it has over the years."
"Lebanon, for me, is not just a State or just a people. I am here among my family," he asserted, reminding that Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Group founded its first office here in Beirut.
"I owe the success I made to Lebanon and the National News Agency which gave me the chance to provide this simple service that can never be measured to what this country granted me," he avowed.
"We are proud of the National News Agency and all its activities, in addition to the wealth it owns; the archive that should be saved and protected from any damage or attack."
"We want to protect this wealth via electronic archiving, and by storing it in secret places, in order to protect the history and all the old memories, because no future could ever be built without a past," he asserted.
"I hope we would be worthy of your trust and would manage to fulfill this duty," he said finally, thanking Minister Jean Ogassapian for his unyielding efforts.