President Serzh Sarkisian on Tuesday praised U.S. engagement with Armenia and the rest of the region and reiterated his government’s commitment to stepping up cooperation with NATO.
“We regard U.S. involvement in the region as a factor strengthening stability,” he told Celeste Wallander, the visiting U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Policy.
“We are satisfied with progress in a number of areas of our bilateral relationship and certainly want to see greater progress in our bilateral economic ties,” he said.
Wallander was in Yerevan on a two-day visit that reflected growing U.S.-Armenian military cooperation. She met with Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Monday.
According to Sarkisian’s office, Wallander described her meetings in the Armenian capital as “excellent.”
The talks also touched upon Armenia’s ties with NATO that have been developing under the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) launched in 2005. Sarkisian discussed them in greater detail on Tuesday at a separate meeting with James Appathurai, NATO’s new special representative to the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
A statement by the presidential press service, said Sarkisian stressed the importance of an “effective implementation” of the IPAP. He also said that Armenia and NATO will soon again revise the cooperation framework in a way that will raise their partnership to “a qualitatively new level.”
The existing version of the IPAP, which was publicized last year, reaffirms Yerevan’s intention to “draw closer” to the Western alliance and calls for a deeper reform of the Armenian army.