“Armenia is an important partner, and we encourage its democratic development,” Blinken tweeted after the conversation.
“The Secretary stressed the significance of respect for the rule of law and democratic institutions, and he expressed our continuing support for the development of democratic processes and institutions in Armenia,” the U.S. State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said in separate written comments.
According to Pashinian’s office, Blinken “hailed Armenia’s achievements in the field of democracy and assured that the United States will continue to assist Armenia in the ongoing reform process.”
“Both sides stressed the need for cooperation towards strengthening the rule of law, fighting corruption and advancing judicial and police reforms in Armenia,” the office said in a statement.
The official readouts made no explicit mention of the ongoing political crisis deepened by the Armenian military’s demands for Pashinian’s resignation. The military’s top brass last week accused Pashinian’s government of putting the country “on the brink of destruction” after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The State Department warned Armenia’s armed forces to stay out of politics but stopped short of calling their demands a coup attempt. “We urge all parties to exercise restraint and to avoid any escalatory or violent actions,” Price said on February 26.
Blinken and Pashinian also discussed the current situation in the Karabakh conflict zone.
“We welcome efforts to achieve a lasting political settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Blinken said in this regard.
Pashinian was cited by his office as stressing “the need for Azerbaijan to immediately return [Armenian] prisoners of war, hostages and other people held in captivity.”
“In this context, the U.S. side emphasized the importance of the the Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ activities and expressed readiness to continue its role in resolving the conflict,” the office said.
Blinken pledged in January to “reinvigorate U.S. engagement to find a permanent settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that protects the security of Nagorno-Karabakh and helps to ensure another war does not break out.”
Joe Biden complained about a lack of such engagement during the six-week Karabakh war that coincided with the U.S. presidential race.