President Serzh Sarkisian and his key ministers have underlined the importance of Armenia’s “friendly” relationship with the United States and called for its further expansion at a meeting with a visiting top U.S. diplomat.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tina Kaidanow arrived in Yerevan Saturday on a three-day visit that concluded her latest tour of the region. According to official Armenian sources, her talks with Sarkisian, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian centered on bilateral U.S.-Armenian ties and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Sarkisian was quoted by his press office as telling Kaidanow on Monday that the “high level” of those ties and their further deepening are an “important factor” in Armenia’s economic development and regional stability. He also praised the U.S. role in international efforts to broker a solution to the Karabakh conflict.
A statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Nalbandian reaffirmed Yerevan’s commitment to bolstering “multi-faceted relations” and “friendly partnership” with Washington when he met Kaidanow on Sunday. He said U.S.-Armenian relations have reached “a qualitatively new level” this year.
According to the statement, Nalbandian pointed to Sarkisian’s April talks in Washington with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s July visit to Armenia. Clinton heaped praise on Sarkisian’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey during the trip which the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said “highlighted the U.S. Government’s strong partnership with Armenia.”
Kaidanow’s separate talks with Defense Ministry Ohanian, also held on Sunday, underscored increased military cooperation between the two countries. Ohanian called it “one of the important pillars of the Armenian defense policy,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“Both sides noted the importance of further development of cooperation between the two countries and discussed the planned military cooperation activities,” read the statement. “Tina Kaidanow welcomed Armenian participation in the international security stabilization operations, particularly in Afghanistan and stressed the importance of further bilateral efforts in that regard.”
The statement added that both interlocutors stressed “the imperative to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem in a peaceful manner.” The Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute was also high on the agenda of Kaidanow’s meeting with Nalbandian. No details of the Karabakh-related discussions were made public.
As was the case during her previous trips to Yerevan, Kaidanow avoided any contacts with local media.
The U.S. official was also scheduled to meet Armenian opposition leaders. However, none of the country’s leading opposition groups reported such meetings as of Monday evening.