YEREVAN — The United States and Armenia signed on Tuesday an agreement on “mutual assistance” of their customs services after talks in Yerevan which James O’Brien, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia said highlighted growing ties between the two nations.

“Our discussions focused on democratic development, economic diversification, defense reforms, and Euro-Atlantic cooperation,” O’Brien tweeted after chairing the latest session of the U.S.-Armenia Strategic Dialogue together with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.

“Today’s meeting is yet another expression of high-level political dialogue between our two countries that will give another impetus to the evolving partnership between Armenia and the United States,” Mirzoyan said during the talks.

“The bilateral agenda continues to expand and include dimensions critical for the resilience and sustainable development of Armenia,” he added in his opening remarks made in English.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry reported afterwards that the head of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee, Rustam Badasyan, and the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, Kristina Kvien, signed the agreement on “mutual assistance of their customs authorities.” The agreement aims to facilitate customs cooperation and ensure information exchange to combat smuggling and other violations of customs procedures.

Speaking during the talks, O’Brien said that the deal calls for an “exchange of information” between the U.S. and Armenian customs services. It will help to expand bilateral commercial ties, he said.

According to Armenian customs data, U.S.-Armenian trade reached $670 million last year. U.S. exports to Armenia accounted for almost 93 percent of the figure equivalent to 3.2 percent of Armenia’s overall foreign trade.

O’Brien said on Tuesday that Washington will continue to “work on” closer defense and security ties with Yerevan.

“We are interested in further exploring possibilities for cooperation for Armenia’s defense transformation,” Mirzoyan said for his part.

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