LNDON (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian met Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles late Wednesday on the second day of what his office described as a “working” visit to London.
The Armenian presidential press service said Sarkisian and the 83-year-old monarch discussed at the Buckingham Palace British-Armenian relations, Armenia’s integration in European structures and its efforts to normalize ties with Turkey. “Regarding all these issues the President of Armenia presented to Her Majesty the official position of Yerevan,” it said in a statement.
Sarkisian met Charles later in the day at a fundraising dinner organized in Windsor Palace by the Prince of Wales and Armen Sarkisian, a London-based former prime minister of Armenia. The latter (no relation to the Armenian president) plans to use proceeds from the event for restoring four old buildings in Yerevan.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband was the only senior British government official to hold talks with Sarkisian. According to Sarkisian’s press service, the two men discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. “David Miliband welcomed efforts of the Armenian President aimed at the normalization of relations with Turkey and noted that Great Britain supports the process,” read its statement.
It is not clear why British Prime Minister Gordon Brown did not meet Sarkisian despite an official status attributed to the visit by the Armenian presidential administration. The British ambassador to Armenia, Charles Lonsdale, was reported to say in Yerevan last week that Sarkisian’s trip to London will be “private.”