The United States will stay engaged in the South Caucasus during President-elect Donald Trump’s tenure, a senior U.S. State Department official reportedly told President Serzh Sarkisian on Wednesday.
Bridget Brink, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, met with Sarkisian in Yerevan to discuss U.S.-Armenian relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict one week after Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election.
According to Sarkisian’s press service, Brink assured him that “under the new administration the United States will continue to be interested in developments in the South Caucasus.” Washington will also remain committed to the implementation of Armenian-Azerbaijani confidence-building agreements reached earlier this year, it said in a statement.
The statement also cited Brink as praising “close relations and productive interaction in various area” between the U.S. and Armenia.
Sarkisian, for his part, was reported to call for a deepening of U.S.-Armenian ties. He expressed confidence that “the U.S.-Armenian political dialogue will not only continue but also receive new impetus under President Trump.”
Sarkisian made a similar forecast in a congratulatory message to Trump sent on November 9. “I am confident that during your presidency the close U.S.-Armenia partnership will continue to develop dynamically,” he wrote.
Throughout his rule, Sarkisian has sought closer ties with the United States despite Armenia’s political and military alliance with Russia. He has repeatedly said in recent years that U.S.-Armenian relations have reached the “highest level in their history.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian said last week that Yerevan does not expect the Trump administration to significantly change U.S. policy towards the South Caucasus. Kocharian dismissed suggestions that Trump may have little knowledge of key regional issues such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.