While meeting with a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation Thursday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said advancing relations with the United States was a key priority for his government.
The visiting American lawmakers are part of the U.S. House Democracy Partnership Commission, a bi-partisan group that works directly with partner countries around the world to support the development of effective, independent and responsive legislative institutions.
Pashinyan told the members of Congress that Armenia is undergoing radical reforms and is steadfastly pushing ahead with democratic reforms. He referred to last spring’s Velvet Revolution and the subsequent special parliamentary election in December, noting that it was the first free, democratic and transparent election held in Armenia since independence as described by international observer missions.
Pashinyan emphasized that his government anticipates that Armenia’s international partners among them the United States, will support Yerevan aggressive efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and economic reforms.
The HDP co-chairman, Rep. David Price (D-NC) hailed the reforms underway in Armenia, noting that the HDP is prepared to promote a culture of parliamentary activities in Armenia through exchange of experience and consultation, as well as to strengthen U.S.-Armenia relations and inter-parliamentary cooperation.
In response to lawmaker’s inquiry, Pashinyan elaborated on the ongoing economic reforms in Armenia and regional developments. He praised the youth’s contribution to the Velvet Revolution and to the reform process. He also highlighted the role women play in Armenia’s political and administrative life, and briefed them on how Armenia functions under parliamentary form of government.
Speaking about democracy, Pashinyan underscored that democracy is intinctive belief, and not a geopolitical or external political orientation for Armenia and the Armenian people.
Pashinyan also detailed economic growth rates recorded so far, noting that consistent steps are being implemented to combat monopolies, curb shadow economy and create new jobs, adding that his government seeks to ensure inclusive economic growth and, in this respect, he would appreciate cooperating in the fields of infrastructure building, innovations and technologies.
In addition to Rep. Price, the HDP delegation includes representatives Vern Buchanan (R-Fla., HDP co-chair) Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.). In addition to Armenia, the group will visit Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The delegation arrived in Yerevan Wednesday and met with Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan and His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians at Etchmiadzin. Armenian lawmakers Gayane Abrahamyan and Hovhannes Hovhannisyan are accompanying the delegation.