YEREVAN (ARKA)—President Serzh Sarkisian met with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Bridget Brink today, who is in Armenia to participate in the first meeting of the U.S.-Armenia Joint Economic Task Force.
Sarkisian’s press service said that the president stressed the importance of the activities of the Task Force, which is in his opinion an important and successful format for the coordination of bilateral trade and economic cooperation. According to Sarkisian, the signing of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) this year was a momentous achievement for Armenian-American relations.
Sarkisian also stressed that since Armenia’s independence, Armenian-American relations have been developing steadily because of mutual efforts and reciprocal political will.
According to Sarkisian and Brink, the bilateral agenda encompassed a number of various areas—political, economic, security, humanitarian and others, and within this scope new achievements are registered every year. Armenia and the U.S. maintain a strong partnership in bilateral as well as multilateral formats.
Sarkisian hailed the U.S.’s years-long assistance in promoting Armenia’s economic development, in carrying out reforms in different areas, in building a democratic and civil society, as well as the efforts of the U.S. aimed at the preservation of regional peace and stability. Sarkisian also noted the importance of the continuous efforts of the U.S. as a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group aimed at the resolution of the NK issue.
Brink praised the current level of Armenian-American relations and stressed that she came to Armenia first to express the U.S.’s appreciation for Armenia’s bilateral cooperation in security. Brink said security is crucial in the context of recent global developments and the terror attacks in Paris last week.
“The United States and Armenia are partners on a range of issues concerning peace, stability, and prosperity. We highly appreciate Armenia’s contributions to global security: with NATO in Kosovo since 2004 and in Afghanistan since 2010, with the UN in Lebanon since 2014, and the recent commitments at the UN Peacekeeping Summit to support future peacekeeping efforts throughout the world. I am glad to be here in Yerevan to help build a closer trade relationship between our two countries through the U.S.-Armenia Joint Economic Task Force (USATF). And we continue to work with local partners to support Armenia’s fight against corruption and its democratic development, including a transparent, inclusive, and representative referendum on constitutional reform on December 6,” Brink said.
Brink went on to say that the U.S. intends to take practical steps in the direction of further developing relations with Armenia during a meeting with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
“I am proud that the United States is among the largest foreign direct investors in Armenia and am looking forward to identifying ways to further increase investor confidence following the meetings of the U.S.-Armenia Joint Economic Task Force (USATF) and Armenia-U.S. Council on Trade and Investment (TIFA) meetings in Yerevan this week,” Brink said. “This series of high-level meetings will help us build a more beneficial trade partnership.”
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, the U.S.’s net investments made in Armenia’s economy over the first six months of 2015 totaled 545.6 million drams, compared to the 396.3 million drams invested over the same period last year.
Nalbandian and Brink exchanged thoughts on the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, highlighting impermissibility of cease-fire regime violations. They noted that attempts to shift the discussions on the settlement into other frameworks are harmful. Nalbandian and Brink also discussed international and regional issues, as well as ways to fight terrorism.