President Barack Obama expressed hope that U.S.-Armenian ties will become even closer as he congratulated Armenia on the 21st anniversary of its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union that was officially marked on Friday.
In a congratulatory letter to President Serzh Sarkisian, Obama also pledged continued U.S. support for political and economic reforms promised by the Armenian government.
“The United States is firmly committed to assisting in Armenia’s continued economic development and democratization, and hopes that our close partnership will expand further in the years ahead,” he wrote, according to Sarkisian’s press office.
Obama also praised U.S.-Armenian cooperation on security challenges facing the world. Washington “highly appreciates” Armenia’s participation in the U.S.-led multinational missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, he was reported to say.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a similar statement on the occasion. “This is a special occasion to honor the achievements of Armenians and those of Armenian descent,” she said. “In the United States, Armenian-Americans have enriched the fabric of our society, further strengthening the longstanding bonds of friendship between our two countries.”
“I had the opportunity to once again experience the warm hospitality of the Armenian people when I visited Yerevan this past June,” read the statement. “As I said then, America is committed to helping Armenia strengthen its democratic institutions, deepen its economic reforms, and foster a future of peace and prosperity.”
“As you celebrate 21 years of independence, know that the United States stands with Armenia as a partner and friend,” added Clinton.
During the June trip, Clinton praised the Armenian authorities’ handling of parliamentary elections held in May and their efforts to improve the domestic business environment. In a further boost to President Serzh Sarkisian, she also again endorsed official Yerevan’s view that Turkey should stop linking parliamentary ratification of U.S.-brokered normalization agreements, signed with Armenia in 2009, to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Sarkisian, for his part, reaffirmed his commitment to expanding relations with the United States “in all areas.” He told Clinton that U.S.-Armenian ties have already have “reached the highest point in history.”
Sarkisian referred to America as his country’s “traditional and sincere friend” when he met with a visiting U.S. congressman in Yerevan earlier this month.