The United States and Russia praised their “historic” relations with Armenia as they marked one of its most important public holidays on Tuesday.
“On this occasion, we recognize and pay tribute to the spirit and accomplishments of the Armenian people and to their achievements around the world,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement dedicated to what the White House described as Armenian National Day.
“The United States is proud of the historic ties and friendship between our countries and honored by the many contributions Americans of Armenian ancestry have made to our nation,” he said.
Obama made the same point in a virtually identical letter to President Serzh Sarkisian congratulating him on the 19th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence from the crumbling Soviet Union.
“Americans of Armenian heritage have made many contributions to the United States over the years, deepening the ties of friendship and affection between our countries,” read a separate statement issued by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We are committed to expanding our cooperation and building a promising future for all our citizens.
Sarkisian also received a congratulatory message from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “Our citizens take pride in glorious pages of our common history, common achievements and victories,” Medvedev said.
“Today, Armenia and Russia build strategic partnership on the basis of mutual trust and cooperation, conduct active political dialogue, and coordinate their steps on the regional and international arenas,” he added, according to the Armenian presidential press office.
Russia has been Armenia’s leading ally ever since the Soviet break-up. The two states expanded the scope of their military alliance during Medvedev’s recent visit to Yerevan.
Armenia has at the same time sought to forge closer political, economic and security links with the West and the U.S. in particular. Meeting with a top U.S. diplomat last week, Sarkisian said the current “high level” of U.S.-Armenian ties and their further deepening are an “important factor” in his country’s economic development and regional stability. He also praised the U.S. role in international efforts to broker a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.