YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian expressed readiness to “strengthen and expand” Armenia’s relationship with the United States when he congratulated President Donald Trump on U.S. Independence Day on Wednesday.

“The new political and social realities that emerged following the revolution [in Armenia] allow us to upgrade our relations to a qualitatively new level,” he said in a congratulatory message to Trump. “We are ready to do everything possible to strengthen and expand our bilateral relations, based on shared values, mutual respect and an atmosphere of trust.”

In his message to Trump, the 43-year-old premier also praised large-scale U.S. assistance provided to Armenia since independence. “Your support is called-for today more than ever before,” he said, listing the areas of economic development, democracy building, human rights and security.

Pashinian similarly called for “new impetus to our bilateral cooperation” on Tuesday when he visited the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan to personally congratulate Ambassador Richard Mills on America’s national holiday.

The U.S. Ambassador thanked the Prime Minister of Armenia for the visit and congratulations. “On this beautiful day, as our independence day is being celebrated, we are honored to host you at the U.S. Embassy. Armenia is a good friend and partner of the United States, and I look forward to continued cooperation in tune with the spirit of our shared democratic values,” Richard Mills said.

The Prime Minister highly appreciated the ongoing close cooperation with the United States. “The Government of the Republic of Armenia appreciates the active dialogue and cooperation entertained with the United States in all areas of mutual interest. We stand ready to give new impetus to our bilateral cooperation, which should include trade and economic ties,” Nikol Pashinian said and thanked the Government of the United States for years-long assistance provided to Armenia.

Pashinian said at another meeting with Mills held on May 18 that he would welcome U.S. assistance to wide-ranging reforms planned by his government. The U.S. envoy reported afterwards ongoing U.S.-Armenian discussions on “how the U.S. government can help the new government.” He specifically mentioned the possibility of renewed U.S. aid to Armenia under Washington’s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program.

Armenia received $177 million in MCA funding for the rehabilitation of its rural irrigation networks a decade ago. Washington froze further MCA aid after a disputed 2008 presidential election that was followed by a harsh government crackdown on the Armenian opposition.

The administration of former President Serzh Sarkisian tried unsuccessfully to restore Yerevan’s eligibility for the aid scheme in the following years. U.S. officials said, among other things, that it is not doing enough to combat widespread corruption.

According to Pashinian’s press office, the premier also discussed with Mills on Tuesday “ways of attracting more U.S. investments” to Armenia.

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