A senior U.S. State Department official telephoned opposition leader Nikol Pashinian on Monday to discuss the continuing political crisis in Armenia.
In a short Facebook post, Pashinian said he and Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell touched upon “issues relating to a peaceful and legal resolution” of the crisis sparked by massive anti-government protests. He did not elaborate.
The State Department renewed at the weekend its calls for the leading Armenian factions to end the turmoil through dialogue.
“The United States continues to monitor closely the situation in Armenia,” said a spokeswoman for the department, Heather Nauert. “As a friend of Armenia, we urge all parties to engage in good faith negotiations on the formation of a new government in accordance with the Constitution, and to reach a resolution that reflects the interests of all Armenians.”
“We support the ongoing efforts of the Office of President [Armen] Sarkissian to facilitate dialogue between all parties. We continue to commend the peaceful nature of the demonstrations, and trust that the security forces and those exercising their right to peaceful protest will remain committed to non-violence in the days to come,” Nauert added in a statement.
The U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, Richard Mills, met with both Pashinian and acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetian last week in a bid to help ease political tensions in Armenia.
Pashinian spoke with Mitchell the day before a session of the Armenian parliament which is due to elect the country’s new prime minister. The previous premier, Serzh Sarkisian, resigned on April 23 under pressure from tens of thousands of Pashinian supporters demonstrating in the streets against his continued rule.