Kocharian Begins US Visit Lays Wreath at Arlington Cemetery

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN Asbarez English Editor

WASHINGTON-President Robert Kocharian began his working visit to the nation’s capital by attending a solemn ceremony Monday at Arlington National Cemetery–where he laid a wreath at the tomb of Unknown Soldiers.

Kocharian arrived at Washington’s Dulles International Airport Saturday afternoon–where he was greeted by officials from the State Department–including US Ambassador to Armenia Michael Lemmon–as well as representatives of local Armenian organizations and Armenia’s ambassador to the US Armand Kirakossian.

Joining the president in his delegation are foreign minister Vartan Oskanian–presidential press secretary Vahe Gabrielyan and other presidential staffers.

Kocharian’s entrance to Arlington National Cemetery was marked by the 21-gun salute–following which he was greeted at his motorcade by Major General Robert R. Ivony–commander general of US Army Military District of Washington.

Ivony led Kocharian and the delegation to the tomb of the Unknowns–prior to which the US Army Band played the Armenian and US national anthems.

President Kocharian placed a wreath on the tomb and was escorted to the Memorial Amphitheater.

Before leaving the cemetery–Kocharian also visited the John F. Kennedy gravesite.

The highlight of Kocharian’s Monday agenda was a meeting with Vice-President Al Gore at the US State Department–following which the vice-president hosted a dinner in Kocharian’s honor.

Kocharian was also scheduled to meet with the president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation George Munoz.

Kocharian is slated to meet with President Bill Clinton on Wednesday at the White House.


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