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Top U.S. Senator Visits Armenia


Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) meets U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in Yerevan, 1Jun2012.

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) meets U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in Yerevan, 1Jun2012.

Senator Dick Durbin, a Democratic leader in the U.S. Congress, visited Armenia on Friday for talks with the country’s top leaders that reportedly focused on regional security.

Durbin, who is currently the Senate majority whip, held separate meetings with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian. He was also scheduled to meet Armenian female politicians and civic activists involved in Turkish-Armenian cross-border programs funded by the United States.

“The president and the U.S. senator discussed issues relating to the development of U.S.-Armenian relations and current affairs and challenges in the region,” Sarkisian’s press office said in a statement. It gave no details.

A separate statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Nalbandian praised Durbin for his desire to “familiarize himself with Armenia’s approaches to regional issues.” Nalbandian also briefed him on recent developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

As well as being the second-highest ranking member of the upper house of Congress, Durbin is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also sits on its Subcommittee on European Affairs.

Both Sarkisian and Nalbandian were reported to thank the Illinois senator for
supporting congressional draft resolutions that refer to the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey as genocide.

The Armenian president also commended “Armenia’s friends in the U.S. Senate” for advocating financial and other assistance to his country which he said has had a “great significance for Armenia’s development.”

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said earlier in the day that “domestic issues” will also be on the agenda of Durbin’s talks. The official Armenian sources reported no such discussions, however.
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