By Frank Csongos in Washington and Harry Tamrazian in Prague
Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian met U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon on Wednesday to discuss a wide range of military issues.
A Pentagon spokesman told our correspondent the talks centered on bilateral security issues, including strengthening the two countries' military partnership. The spokesman said there is a new era of cooperation between the U.S. and Armenia.
He said Rumsfeld expressed appreciation for Armenia's support of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Rumsfeld visited Armenia last December. U.S.-Armenian military cooperation was discussed in working groups with participation by the Pentagon and Armenian Ministry of Defense officials.
The Pentagon spokesman said a joint news conference by Sarkisian and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was canceled earlier today because of a scheduling conflict by the U.S. official.
Later in the day, Serzh Sarkisian also met with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Lincoln Bloomfield. Armenian Defense Minister attended also a reception at the U.S. Congress, jointly hosted by the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense, Armenian Embassy in Washington D.C. said.
Sarkisian was accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Tatul Margarian, and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Arman Kirakossian. He will hold separate meeting on Friday with Stephen Hadley, deputy director of the National Security Council. He is also scheduled to visit the National Defense University in Washington.