President Serzh Sarkisian praised U.S. government reaction to Armenia’s bitter diplomatic dispute with Azerbaijan and Hungary as he met with a visiting senior U.S. lawmaker on Thursday.
Sarkisian also told Dan Burton, chairman of a House of Representatives subcommittee on Europe, that he remains committed to deepening ties with the United States “in all areas.” He referred to the U.S. as Armenia’s “traditional and sincere friend.”
The U.S. administration was quick to express “deep concern” Friday at Azerbaijan’s decision to set free an Azerbaijan army officer who was extradited by Hungary more than eight years after axe-murdering an Armenian colleague in Budapest. The White House and the State Department said they also expect the Hungarian government to explain the extradition strongly condemned by Armenia.
Some members of the U.S. Congress issued even more strongly-worded statements. “I am shocked and appalled that Azerbaijan not only welcomed [Ramil] Safarov home, but pardoned, promoted, and treated him as a hero,” John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, said on Wednesday.
Sarkisian described these statements as “yet another example of sincere friendship and impartiality” shown by Washington. “We are grateful to all those, including you personally, who have taken this position,” he told Burton, according to his press office.
The veteran Republican congressman also held separate meetings in Yerevan with parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian.
Announcing the suspension of Armenia’s diplomatic relations with Hungary on Friday, Sarkisian urged the international community to respond to Safarov’s release with “clear and unequivocal actions.”