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Pashinian, Blinken Discuss Reforms, Karabakh In Phone Call


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

Ongoing democratic reforms and the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh were addressed during a telephone conversation between Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken that reportedly took place late on Tuesday.

Pashinian’s press office said that in the phone call that was held at the initiative of the American side, Blinken congratulated the Armenian leader on his Civil Contract party’s victory in the June 20 snap parliamentary elections, “appreciating the consistent steps taken by the Armenian government in recent years to build on the country’s democratic achievements.”

“In this context, Antony Blinken hailed Nikol Pashinian’s efforts to handle the electoral tensions peacefully and build civilized relations with the opposition. Highlighting the Armenian government’s reform agenda, which specifically seeks to curb corruption and improve the judiciary, Antony Blinken assured that the United States will provide continued support in this direction. He noted that the partnership between the two countries is based on democratic values,” the readout of the call released by Pashinian’s press office said.

Pashinian for his turn reportedly thanked the U.S. secretary of state for his assessment of Armenia’s democratic achievements and appreciated the American side’s continued support to his government’s efforts aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and rule of law in Armenia, including the launching of a police patrol service in Yerevan that he hoped will soon be introduced nationwide.

Armenia’s acting premier also hailed the efforts made by acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker to ensure the repatriation of Armenian prisoners of war from Azerbaijan a month ago.

“The repatriation of POWs and the withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from Armenia’s sovereign territory were described as key issues in the context of achieving regional stability,” the press release said.

The report also said that the U.S. secretary of state gave assurances that the United States will continue its efforts to ensure the return of all prisoners of war.

“With reference to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Antony Blinken prioritized the need for resuming the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ activities, emphasizing that a clear-cut agenda has to be developed for the peace process that would help find a lasting and comprehensive resolution of the conflict.

“In this context, Nikol Pashinian underscored that the conflict is not resolved and calls for a comprehensive settlement, which can only be achieved in the Minsk Group co-chairing format. The U.S. side agreed with the acting prime minister’s view that the status quo cannot be stable and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs need a clear agenda conducive to successful negotiations,” the report concluded.

In a separate development Pashinian has sent a congratulatory message to French President Emmanuel Macron on the occasion of the National Day of France marked on July 14.

In his message the Armenian leader said that Yerevan appreciates “the unbiased position of friendly France and its assistance” provided to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Armenia highly values you country’s strong commitment, as a Minsk Group co-chair, to brokering a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We appreciate France’s efforts to return Armenian prisoners of war from Azerbaijan and safeguard the Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh. I look forward to hosting you in Armenia in the near future as part of a state visit,” Pashinian wrote to Macron, according to his press office.

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