YEREVA (RFE/RL)–U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg reportedly assured president Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday that the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations is “very important” for the United States.
Steinberg met with Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian during a one-day visit to Yerevan. The U.S.-backed efforts to improve Turkish-Armenian relations were high on the agenda of his talks.
“He reaffirmed that the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations is very important for the United States and that the USA is ready to continue its assistance to the process,” Sarkisian’s press office said in a statement.
The statement said Steinberg praised the Armenian leadership’s commitment to the normalization of Turkish-Armenian normalization and stood by Washington’s view that a relevant ruling handed down last month by Armenia’s Constitutional Court was a step in the right direction. Sarkisian, for his part, was quoted as welcoming Washington’s “balanced position” on this and other “multilateral” issues.
The statement added that the two men also discussed the current state of U.S.-Armenian relations and noted their “dynamic development” in various spheres, including security. Sarkisian hailed in that regard a sharp increase bilateral trade registered last year. “The USA has become our fifth most important trading partner,” he said.