Ambassador Ordway Addresses Armenia’s Press Before Departure

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–John M. Ordway who has served as the US Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia’since November 2001–held his last press briefing in Armenia on July 22–before finishing his diplomatic mission there.

Speaking of Armenia-US relations in the past years–he noted shortcomings–but said that on the whole–relations have been positive–and that further improvement of relations would depend on developmen’s in Armenia and the region. "I am sure that the interests shared by the governmen’s and peoples of the two countries won’t change. We share the loyalty of the Armenian people to democratic values and formation of a civil society."

He said that the US–working with the government of the Republic of Armenia–has tried to develop the economy–establish supremacy of law–and form a civil society–but stressed the importance of implementing additional social and political reforms–and strengthening the economy so as to improve Armenia’s investment environment.

Asked about human rights and freedom of speech in Armenia–Ordway said that taking into account Armenia’s resources–the US would have expected more progress than registered–but that the presence of an active media–along with steps already taken toward forming a civil society are–nevertheless–inspiring. "I think that there is a hope in this sphere and we have great expectations. We will do our best to advance progress."

Talking about the peace and security of the South Caucuses–he said the US would continue working with the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group in seeking a "fair and mutually admissible solution," to the Mountainous Karabagh conflict. Praising the current levels of military cooperation between the two countries–Ordway said that bilateral military relations are not limited to assistance. "I hope that Armenian forces will participate in the peacekeeping mission in Iraq soon," he indicated. He praised the country’s developing relation with NATO and pledged US backing to further advance the cooperation.

Summing up his experience in Armenia–Ordway affirmed his faith in the Armenian people’s "great potential for building of a free–independent–economically developed and prospering country."

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