Statement by US Deputy Secretary of State

YEREVAN (Armenpress) – Below are statemen’s made by US Deputy Secretary of State Eric Newsom during a visit to Armenia:

I came to Yerevan to carry on the formal bilateral security dialogue between the United States and a newly independent state. My visit builds on a number of past exchanges with the Armenian government–including by Under Secretary of State Dr. Lynn Davis last summer. I am visiting Tbilisi and Baku for similar dialogues this week.

The primary objective of my visit to Armenia was to engage in a discussion of defense and security issues of mutual interest. We discussed the evolution of the European security architecture as it relates to Armenia–including NATO enlargement–Partnership for Peace–the role of Russia in the region–and the development of other European institutions–such as the OSCE–EU–and WEU. We exchanged views on the CFE Treaty.

Overall the emphasis was on the goal of promoting development of an inclusive European security framework promoting the independence–stability–and democratic development of all states. Our agenda also included discussions of regional security cooperation within the Caucasus–as well as Armenia’s relations with its neighbors. While I made it clear that Nagorno-Karabakh was not on my agenda–I was able to reaffirm my government’s commitment to actively assist in the search for a balanced and lasting peace to that tragic conflict.

We talked about nonproliferation concerns in the Caucasus and offered to expand our cooperation in improving Armenia’s export control capabilities. We discussed Armenia’s active participation in the Partnership for Peace and were pleased to hear of Armenia’s interest in participating actively in NATO’s future Atlantic Partnership Council.

I brought an interagency team with me to Armenia. We held four hours of talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Manasarian–Director Tigran Martirossian–and other officials. I also met with Deputy Defense Minister Shirkhanian and will meet President Ter-Petrosyan this evening.

Our sessions were held in a cordial and cooperative atmosphere–as between friends. We invited the government of Armenia to come to Washington next year to continue this mutually beneficial bilateral security dialogue.

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