Kocharian Visits Washington

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An Armenian delegation led by President Robert Kocharian was on a visit to Washington to attend the NATO 50 Summit.

Kocharian met with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole Friday to discuss Armenian-American relations as well as bills of vital importance for Armenia’s to be discussed in Congress.

On the morning of April 24–President Kocharian and his entourage visited the Holocaust Museum to familiarize themselves with the evidence of atrocities committed against the Jews during World War II.

In remarks at the museum–Kocharian declared that had the genocide of Armenia’s been condemned–similar tragedies would not have followed. Stressing that there are still cases of denial of the Armenian genocide–he called for cooperation–the first example of which could be a partnership between the Holocaust Museum and the Armenian Genocide Museum. Officials at the museum expressed willingness for such cooperation.

On the same day–Kocharian visited the National Cathedral in Washington and laid a wreath at the tomb of President Woodrow Wilson. In his speech he praised US policy during the years of the Genocide–in particular–Wilson’s attitude toward Armenia’s. A senior State Department official read out a letter by President Bill Clinton commemorating April 24.

Thereafter–the Kocharian-led delegation attended a an unprecedented ceremony at the St. Alban Church commemorating the Armenian Genocide. The event was organized by the Diocese–the Prelacy and Armenia’s Embassy in the US. Attending the ceremony were both representatives of the Armenian and other churches.

Later in the evening–at the invitation of President Clinton–Robert Kocharian attended a dinner honoring leaders of NATO’s Council of Euroatlantic Partnership countries.

Kocharian met with International Monetary Fund Executive Director Michel Camdessus Sunday. Noting that Armenia was committed to the path of democratic and market reforms–the president briefed Camdessus on Armenia’s current economic situation. Camdessus expressed satisfaction with the current state of relations between Armenia and the IMF and assured that the fund was Armenia’s long-term partner. He announced IMF plans to launch a new program and dispatch a working group to Armenia to pave the way for the program.

Later that day–Secretary of State Madeleine Albright convened a meeting of the three Caucasus leaders–Kocharian–Azeri president Haydar Aliyev and Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze. Also attending the meeting were the foreign ministers of Germany–France–Turkey and Norway.

Kocharian made a brief speech at the NATO summit among leaders of other countries.

On Monday morning–within the framework of the Diaspora-Armenia conference–a meeting was held at the Armenian Embassy–attended by Diasporan representatives from various parts of the country and Canada.

The same day–Kocharian met with Albright–who said the US was interested in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and voiced willingness to boost US efforts in that regard.

The next meeting of the president was held at the Carnegie Corporation where he spoke before an audience of representatives of a number of analytical centers–US government officials–scientists and journalists. Kocharian also answered questions regarding foreign policy matters–the Karabakh conflict and Armeno-Turkish relations.

On Tuesday–Kocharian was scheduled to meet with representatives of a number of Diasporan organizations–address members of Congress.

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