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Armenia Offers Closer Ties To New UK Leader


U.K. -- Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks after being announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party in London, July 23, 2019

President Armen Sarkissian expressed Armenia’s readiness to forge closer ties with the United Kingdom in a message to its incoming new Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent on Tuesday.

Sarkissian was quick to congratulate Johnson on winning the leadership of the ruling Conservative Party.

“Armenia is interested in establishing a new kind of cooperation with the United Kingdom in areas of mutual interest and is prepared to take necessary steps in that direction,” he wrote. He said hopes the two nations will achieve closer “multi-sectoral partnership” through a “constructive dialogue.”

Sarkissian lived and worked in London, including as Armenian ambassador to Britain, for nearly three decades prior to becoming Armenia’s largely ceremonial head of state in April 2018. He received British citizenship in 2002 but renounced it about a decade later.

Sarkissian also established a friendly rapport with Britain’s Prince Charles. The two men jointly raised funds for charity projects in Scotland and Armenia.

Johnson will formally replace Theresa May as prime minister on Wednesday. The former British foreign secretary made headlines in May 2018 after being tricked by a Russian prankster posing as Armenia’s newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. Their 18-minute phone conversation was posted on the Internet and widely circulated by international media.

In that audio, Johnson described as “remarkable success” Pashinian-led mass protests that toppled Armenia’s previous government. “You can definitely count on the UK,” he told “Pashinian.” “I admire your vision and what you are trying to achieve.”

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