Oskanian Meets Key US Officials in Washington

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian held a series of meetings with officials at the White House–the Department of State and US Congress during a working visit to Washington on June 27-29.

The minister’s meetings with US officials focused on issues of bilateral relations–regional cooperation and security. The sides exchanged views on the current state of the OSCE Minsk process. The sides noted the importance of monitoring the cease-fire in the conflict zone. They expressed confidence that the Minsk Group Co-Chairmen will help resume negotiations for a settlement to the conflict by drawing up a plan acceptable to all sides.

During his meetings with Congress Oskanian discussed in detail issues of security and foreign policy in Armenia. He presented Armenia’s strategy on regional problems and Armenia’s standpoint on the Karabakh settlement. Oskanian noted the importance of annual aid provided to Armenia by Congress. He expressed hope that this year Congress will show consistency by providing the appropriate level of aid to Armenia. He also said that Armenia will continue to encourage the Congress to fully observe all measures stipulated by Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act as long as Azerbaijan continues its blockade of Armenia and relies on violent means to solve the Karabakh conflict.

At the invitation of the Jewish Committee of America–Oskanian addressed a roundtable meeting at the JCA Headquarters Tuesday. The roundtable was attended by representatives of the Jewish Committee of America–the US-Israeli Public Relations Committee–the "Bnai Brith" organization–the National Conference of Soviet Jewry and the Anti-Defamation League. The same day Oskanian gave speeches at the Washington Center for Strategic and International Research and the Headquarters of the Business Council of International Mutual Understanding.

At the Center for Strategic and International Research Oskanian condemened Azeri efforts to involve NATO in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict and compare the Karabakh to Kosovo. He added that if a parallel should be drawn between the two conflicts–then NATO would have to bomb Baku–since it is the agressor in the conflict.

"I would like to announce that Armenia is not under threat from Turkey–but that is not the case," said Oskanian in discussing Armenia’s relations with Turkey.

During his stay in Washington Oskanian held meetings with the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America. The discussions focused on a joint agenda and preparations for the Armenia-Diaspora forum scheduled for September.

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