Sarkisian Attends Capitol Hill Reception

WASHINGTON–Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian met U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon on March 20 to discuss a wide range of military issues.

A Pentagon spokesman told our correspondent the talks centered on bilateral security issues–including strengthening the two countries’ military partnership. The spokesman’said there is a new era of cooperation between the U.S. and Armenia.

Rumsfeld visited Armenia last December. The Pentagon spokesman’said a joint news conference by Sarkisian and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was canceled earlier because of a scheduling conflict by the U.S. official.

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) also welcomed Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian and an Armenian government delegation to Capitol Hill yesterday evening–during a reception co-hosted by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Eurasia Mira Ricardel and the Armenian Caucus.

Congressional Armenian Caucus members Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)–James Langevin (D-RI)–Connie Morella (R-Md.)–Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)–and Mark Souder (R-Ind.)–as well as Amb. Lynn Pascoe were joined by Congressional and Pentagon staff and Armenian community activists to greet Sarkisian–who stressed Armenia’s commitment to assisting in the war against terrorism and lauded closer political–economic and military ties between Armenia and the US–in remarks during a brief program.

Minister Sarkisian will hold separate meetings on Friday with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Stephen Hadley–deputy director of the National Security Council. He is also scheduled to visit the National Defense University in Washington.

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