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U.S. Mulls Trump-Pashinian Meeting In September


Belgium - U.S. President Donald Trump and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian talk during a NATO summit in Brussels, 11 July 2018.

The United States is exploring the possibility of organizing a meeting of President Donald Trump and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in New York in September, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday.

“We are looking at whether it might be possible for President Trump and the prime minister to meet when they are both in New York around the margins of the UN General Assembly,” U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills told reporters in Yerevan.

“I know both sides would like to see a meeting happen, but as you can imagine, the schedules of both the president and the prime minister are very tight,” he said. “So we will have to see if we can find a way to make that happen.”

“But no decision has been made yet on whether it will be possible,” added Mills.

Trump and Pashinian greeted each other and chatted briefly during a NATO summit held in Brussels two weeks ago. But they have held no talks yet. The Armenian premier took office on May 8 after mass protests organized by him brought down the country’s pervious government.

Last week several pro-Armenian members of the U.S. House of Representatives started collecting the signatures of fellow lawmakers on their joint letter to Trump urging him to meet Pashinian in New York. It says that Pashinian led a peaceful revolution that “can be a model for nations seeking democracy around the world.”

“As Armenia seeks to bolster government transparency, strengthen democratic institutions, and empower civil society, it is critical for the United States to deepen its ties with this regional partner at every level of government,” reads the letter. “Without question, your meeting with Prime Minister Pashinian would help to further this goal and strengthen dialogue between our countries.”

Some of those lawmakers met with Armenia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Ararat Mirzoyan in Washington last week.

Pashinian expressed readiness to “strengthen and expand” Armenia’s relationship with the U.S. when he congratulated Trump on America’s Independence Day on July 4. “Your support [to Armenia] is called-for today more than ever before,” he wrote.

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