WASHINGTON, DC — Defense Minister Suren Papikyan discussed with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl U.S.-Armenian military ties, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the war in Ukraine during a meeting at the Pentagon on Thursday. The Armenian Ambassador to the United States Lilit Makunts also participated in the meeting.
“It was a pleasure to meet with Minister of Defense Suren Papikyan of Armenia today to discuss the security situation in Ukraine, the challenges facing South Caucasus peace and stability, and ways to strengthen U.S.-Armenian defense cooperation,” Colin Kahl tweeted after the meeting. He gave no other details.
Pentagon spokesman David Herndon likewise said that Kahl and Papikyan looked at “ways to strengthen the U.S.-Armenian defense relationship.”
“Dr. Kahl emphasized the U.S. commitment to peace and stability in the South Caucasus,” added Herndon. “In addition, the two leaders discussed the war in Ukraine and possible areas of mutually-beneficial cooperation.”
The Armenian Defense Ministry made no explicit mention of Ukraine in its statement on the talks.
Armenia has forged closer defense links with the U.S. and other NATO member states since the early 2000s. It has contributed troops to NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan and participated in multinational exercises organized by the Western alliance.
The Defense Ministry statement said Papikyan and Kahl agreed to step up bilateral cooperation on peacekeeping operations as well as military education and medicine.
It also said that “at the request of the American side” Papikyan briefed Kahl on the situation along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan where tensions seem to have risen in recent days.
Papikyan visited a training center of the Kansas National Guard the start of his trip to the U.S. on Tuesday. The Kansas National Guard and U.S. Army Europe have provided considerable assistance to a special peacekeeping brigade of the Armenian army.