President Barack Obama praised “strong” ties between the United States and Armenia as he congratulated his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian on the 20th anniversary of the South Caucasus state’s independence that will be officially marked on Wednesday.
“As you celebrate this twentieth anniversary, we pay tribute to the historic bonds between our two countries that began long before Armenia achieved its independence,” Obama said in a letter made public by Sarkisian’s office late on Monday.
“As a nation that has been enriched by the contributions of generations of Americans of Armenian ancestry, the United States is proud to walk along the path with you toward further democratization, prosperity and peace.”
“The partnership between the United States and Armenia is strong and the friendship between our peoples is enduring,” wrote Obama.
For her part, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed on Tuesday Washington’s commitment to “strengthen the cooperation between our two countries” in a statement issued on the occasion.
“The United States values our relationship with Armenia, rooted in mutual respect and interests,” Clinton said. “Together, we are working to reduce poverty, expand trade and investment, promote the work of civil society groups and broaden access to healthcare.”
“Whether you celebrate with family, friends or loved ones, know that the United States is a partner and friend,” she added, appealing to Armenians.
Sarkisian has pursued closer ties with the U.S. since taking office in April 2008. While criticizing the Armenian government’s human rights record, the Obama administration has been supportive of his foreign policy moves and, in particular, a rapprochement with Turkey.
In a letter to Obama last month, Sarkisian said that U.S.-Armenian relations are now “stronger than ever before.” “We are determined to deepen and strengthen comprehensive ties between our countries in all areas of mutual interest,” he said.
Ahead of the independence jubilee, the Armenian leader has also received congratulatory messages from dozens of other world leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.
“I note with satisfaction that the basis of the historically deep and traditionally good-neighborly relations between Armenia and Russia has been further reinforced,” read the letter from Medvedev.