By Emil Danielyan
US President George Bush congratulated Thursday Armenian leaders on the tenth anniversary of their country’s independence from the Soviet Union to be officially celebrated on Friday. In a congratulatory message handed to President Robert Kocharian by the US Ambassador in Yerevan Michael Lemmon, Bush reaffirmed Washington’s continued commitment to assisting the decade-long political and economic reforms in Armenia.
“Our countries will continue to work together to achieve our common goal of peace, stability and prosperity in Armenia,” the message said, according to Kocharian’s press office.
Bush stressed the importance of regional peace and stability, saying that it will open “enormous opportunities for the Armenian people to ensure prosperity and security of the future generations.” He also paid tribute to the Armenian-American community, which he said “enriches” America culturally and economically.
Armenian has received $1.4 billion worth of economic assistance from the US since independence, making it one of the largest per-capita recipients of American government aid in the world.
Kocharian, meeting with the outgoing US envoy, again extended his condolences to Bush and the American people in connection with last week’s terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, which he described as a “challenge against humanity.” He was quoted as calling for joint international efforts to fight global terror networks and expressing Armenia’s support for “efforts taken in that direction.”
Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian indicated on Wednesday that Yerevan will support US retaliatory strikes against suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan and other Islamic states.