YEREVAN — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commended Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for pursuing a “more independent” foreign policy and deepening Armenia’s ties with the U.S.-led alliance when he visited Yerevan on Tuesday.

“We support your sovereignty and territorial integrity and we also support your efforts to develop a more independent foreign policy, which we think is important,” he told Pashinyan at the start of their talks.

“This is important for Euro-Atlantic security as we face a more dangerous world. Today, Armenia and Azerbaijan have a chance to achieve lasting peace after years of conflict. That is why I call on the two countries to reach an agreement that will pave the way for the normalization of relations and lasting peace for your peoples,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg arrived in the Armenian capital on the last leg of his tour of the three South Caucasus.

“Of course, we are interested in deepening our cooperation with NATO, and I hope that the Individually Tailored Partnership Program for Armenia will be accepted as soon as possible,” the premier told Stoltenberg.

The NATO chief likewise expressed hope that the framework for closer NATO-Armenia cooperation will be worked out “very soon.” He also praised Armenia for sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine last year. At least some of that aid involved medication supplied to Ukrainian military hospitals.

“I welcome your solidarity with Ukraine and call on all partners to do everything in their power to prevent [Russian President Vladimir] Putin from winning his war of aggression,” Stoltenberg said in a statement to the press made after the talks with Pashinyan.

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