U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy addresses members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Yerevan

YEREVAN — Democracy in Armenia is stronger than ever, US Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy said on Wednesday addressing members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia.

She pledged continued support to the Armenian people “as they make choices to develop and solidify their democracy in a way that bolsters the rule of law and protects human dignity.”

Tracy praised the current Armenian authorities for holding “free, fair and democratic” parliamentary elections in December and combating corruption.

“I don’t need to tell you that democracy in Armenia is stronger than ever,” she said. “And as the events of last spring showed us, change starts with and is driven by Armenians.”

“I plan to continue to support the Armenian people as they make choices to develop and solidify their democracy in a way that bolsters the rule of law and protects human dignity,” she said.

“I am especially encouraged by the government’s efforts to root out corruption and promote transparency,” Tracy went on. “This will help level the playing field and signal to the international community that Armenia is a country that respects the rule of law and is open for business. This is particularly important given the strong potential for improved U.S.-Armenian economic relationship.”

Laying out the priorities for her tenure in Armenia Ambassador Tracy stated that the US appreciates that Armenia has a plethora of bilateral and multilateral international relationships, and, as a sovereign, democratic country, makes choices according to its own national interest.

“We also understand that as a reality of geography and history, Armenia maintains strong ties to Russia,” the Ambassador said, adding, however, that “Armenia-Russia relationship should not and does not preclude Armenia from also pursuing strong, mutually beneficial relations with the United States, the European Union, and other potential partners.”

“Foreign affairs is not a zero-sum game,” she stated.

Lynne Tracy stressed that the US will continue to work with Russia on issues of common interest, including working together toward a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group.

“Today, I am more encouraged than ever with the Minsk Group process.  It has been a long road and there are no easy solutions, but the events of recent months have led me to believe that progress is possible.  High-level meetings between the sides, a reduction in violence and tensions, agreement on next steps and a commitment to continued dialogue show that progress is not out of the realm of possibility.  And I am hearing from Armenians – especially young Armenians – that they are ready for progress,” Amb. Tracy noted.

She noted that Armenia has already shown its commitment to partnering with the United States in the international arena in many ways.

“We value Armenia’s work with NATO in the Partnership for Peace – including your participation in NATO missions, such as the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.  Armenia is a solid partner with the US European Command, promoting regional stability in Kosovo.  And Armenia’s strong partnership with the state of Kansas and the Kansas National Guard has resulted in fifteen years of fruitful exchanges that have brought our countries closer together,”  Lynne Tracy said.

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