Armenia ‘Ready’ For Closer Ties with U.S.

President Barack Obama greets President Serzh Sarkisian at an international nuclear security summit in Washington on April 1, 2016. (Photo: President.am)
President Barack Obama greets President Serzh Sarkisian at an international nuclear security summit in Washington on April 1, 2016. (Photo: President.am)

President Barack Obama greets President Serzh Sarkisian at an international nuclear security summit in Washington on April 1, 2016. (Photo: President.am)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia wants to deepen ties with the United States and hopes that Washington will maintain a “key role” in international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, President Serzh Sarkisian said over the weekend.

In a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama congratulating him on America’s Independence Day, Sarkisian said U.S.-Armenian relations “have always been marked by cordiality, mutual trust and respect.”

“Building on a strong tradition of fruitful cooperation and the existing significant potential, Armenia stands ready to further deepen and develop the Armenian-American friendship and close partnership,” he wrote.

Visiting Washington in late March, Sarkisian told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that bilateral ties have already reached the “highest level in their history.” He said they are growing in political, economic and security areas.

Sarkisian and Biden met on the sidelines of an international nuclear security summit that was hosted by Obama. The Armenian President was among around 50 heads of state invited to the summit.

“We greatly appreciate the U.S. engagement, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, in the Nagorno-Karabakh peaceful settlement process,” Sarkisian wrote to Obama. He said the “key role” played by the U.S. was underscored when the international community scrambled to de-escalate the Karabakh conflict in April.

“We expect that the United States, jointly with the other [Minsk Group] co-chair countries — Russia and France — will continue its active mediation mission towards the establishment of a stable and durable peace in our region,” added the letter.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the Karabakh peace process in separate phone calls with Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev last week.

The Armenian Presidential Press Office publicized the letter to Obama immediately after Sarkisian visited the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Saturday to congratulate Ambassador Richard Mills on the U.S. national holiday.

“The United States greatly values the strong bond of friendship between our two countries,” the embassy wrote on its Facebook page afterwards.

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