YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia wants to deepen ties with the United States and hopes that Washington will maintain a “key role” in international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, President Serzh Sarkisian said over the weekend.
In a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama congratulating him on America’s Independence Day, Sarkisian said U.S.-Armenian relations “have always been marked by cordiality, mutual trust and respect.”
“Building on a strong tradition of fruitful cooperation and the existing significant potential, Armenia stands ready to further deepen and develop the Armenian-American friendship and close partnership,” he wrote.
Visiting Washington in late March, Sarkisian told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that bilateral ties have already reached the “highest level in their history.” He said they are growing in political, economic and security areas.
Sarkisian and Biden met on the sidelines of an international nuclear security summit that was hosted by Obama. The Armenian president was among around 50 heads of state invited to the summit.
“We greatly appreciate the U.S. engagement, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, in the Nagorno-Karabakh peaceful settlement process,” Sarkisian wrote to Obama. He said the “key role” played by the U.S. was underscored when the international community scrambled to de-escalate the Karabakh conflict in April.
“We expect that the United States, jointly with the other [Minsk Group] co-chair countries — Russia and France — will continue its active mediation mission towards the establishment of a stable and durable peace in our region,” added the letter.
The Armenian presidential press office publicized the letter to Obama immediately after Sarkisian visited the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Saturday to congratulate Ambassador Richard Mills on the U.S. national holiday.
“The United States greatly values the strong bond of friendship between our two countries,” the embassy wrote on its Facebook page afterwards.
Full text of the message:
“Honorable President Obama,
Allow me to wholeheartedly congratulate you and the people of the United States on the occasion of Independence Day of the United States of America.
Early next year, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our nations. Looking back on our journey, I note with great satisfaction that the Armenia-US relations have always been marked by cordiality, mutual trust and respect.
We highly value the great support extended by the United States towards the development of Armenia’s economy, the implementation of various reforms and the strengthening of our democratic institutions. Building on a strong tradition of fruitful cooperation and on the existing significant potential, Armenia stands ready to further deepen and develop the Armenian-American friendship and the close partnership.
We greatly appreciate the US engagement, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, in the Nagorno-Karabakh peaceful settlement process. The diplomatic efforts that followed the full-fledged military operation of Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh in the early April, 2016, have once again underscored the key role played by the United States in the peace process. Similar to the co-chair countries of the Minsk Group, we are also strongly convinced that the maintenance of the unlimited-in-time trilateral ceasefire agreements of 1994-1995 and the implementation of steps leading to the establishment of an environment conducive to negotiations, would serve as a strong foundation for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through exclusively peaceful means. We expect that the United States, jointly with the other co-chair countries – Russia and France, will continue its active mediation mission towards the establishment of a stable and durable peace in our region.
Please allow me to once again congratulate you on Independence Day and to wish you and people of the United States continued progress and prosperity. Please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration,” reads the congratulatory message of the President of Armenia.