A senior U.S. State Department official reportedly praised Armenia’s “strong partnership” with the United States, “vibrant” political scene, and burgeoning information technology industry as she celebrated the 26th anniversary of the country’s independence in Washington on Tuesday.
Bridget Brink, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, was among dignitaries that attended and spoke at a reception hosted by the Armenian Embassy in Washington and the U.S. Congressional Armenian Caucus on Capitol Hill on the occasion.
“This year, Armenia celebrates twenty six years of independence. In this time, it is quite remarkable how much progress has been made,” she said in remarks cited by the Armenian Assembly of America, a lobbying group that sponsored the event.
“We all remember all too well the difficult years immediately after independence,” Brink went on. “But in a relatively short period of time, Armenia has modernized its economy and has become a tech hub in the region, created a vibrant political system that allows space for civil society, and has built a strong, enduring partnership with the United States, of which I am deeply proud.”
The U.S. official also praised Armenia’s participation in NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, saying that it underscores “the shared strategic interests between our two countries.”
The Armenian ambassador in Washington, Grigor Hovannisian, described U.S.-Armenian relations as “thriving” when he addressed the reception. The U.S., he said, is a “reliable friend and partner that helped Armenia face formidable odds” following the Soviet break-up.
Also attending the event were about two dozen pro-Armenian members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Some of them visited Yerevan last month to take part in official ceremonies that marked the country’s independence anniversary.
“As we celebrate the freedom that the Armenian people gained over two decades ago, let us also keep in mind those in Artsakh who continue in their struggle for independence,” Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, using the Armenian name of Nagorno-Karabakh.