Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian pledged to strengthen Armenia’s relationship with the United States when he congratulated President Donald Trump on America’s Independence Day on Thursday.
Pashinian stressed in that regard the importance of negotiations held by senior U.S. and Armenian officials in Yerevan in May.
“It is my pleasure to state that the first meeting of the U.S.-Armenia Strategic Dialogue was recently held in Yerevan,” he said in a congratulatory message to Trump publicized by his office. “It evidenced the progress in our bilateral relations, which are based on shared values.”
“Armenia is eager to improve these relations and develop multifaceted cooperation between our two countries,” he added.
Like Armenia’s former leaders, Pashinian thanked the U.S. for its economic and other assistance to his country which has totaled over $2 billion since 1992. “The support of the United States today will allow for smooth and faster reforms and make democracy irreversible in Armenia,” he said.
Pashinian complained in March about Washington’s “zero reaction” to democratic change in Armenia. He seemed unhappy with the fact that there has been no significant increase in U.S. economic assistance to Yerevan since last year’s “velvet revolution” which brought him to power.
The U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, Lynne Tracy, countered afterwards that in 2018 Washington provided $26.7 million in assistance to Armenia in addition to an ongoing $66 million aid program implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The U.S.-Armenian “strategic dialogue” was followed by an announcement that the U.S. government will provide up to $16 million in fresh aid to the South Caucasus nation. In addition, the USAID pledged to allocate $6 million in support of the Pashinian government’s “democratic reform agenda.”
Successive governments in Yerevan have sought closer partnership with the West while keeping Armenia allied to Russia. Tracy said in May that “the Armenian-Russian relationship should not and does not preclude Armenia from also pursuing strong, mutually beneficial relations with the United States, the European Union, and other partners.”