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Official News

Friday, 19 October 2007


In the framework of his visit to the United States, RA Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan met with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at Pentagon on October 18, 2007.


Pointing out to the current high level of relationship between Armenia and the USA, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction at the pace of development of the bilateral military-political cooperation and thanked the American side for sustained assistance provided to the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia.


In turn, Robert Gates said to be highly appreciative of Armenia's participation in the counter-terrorist coalition and the service ensured by Armenian peacekeepers in Iraq.


The parties have discussed ways for Armenia's further involvement in rehabilitation activities in Iraq, as well as the eventual engagement of the Armenian side in Afghanistan in support of the Coalition's efforts.


Speaking about the military assistance provided by the USA to the South Caucasian countries, Serzh Sargsyan emphasized the need of proportioning the aid extended to Armenia and Azerbaijan.


At the request of Robert Gates, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan briefed him on the activities of the government of Armenia. As twin basic challenges outlined by his government, the RA Prime Minister mentioned the imperative of ensuring the continuity and efficiency of the ongoing political and economic reforms, as well as the need of finding speedy solutions to the welfare bottlenecks faced by the population and added that the Government had sufficient determination and resources to achieve these targets.


With reference to the Karabakh conflict, Serzh Sargsyan reaffirmed that Armenia kept on advocating an expedited and negotiated settlement of the conflict based on compromise. He said to be hopeful that the discussions and dialog underway within the frameworks of the OSCE Minsk Group would yield a positive result. Robert Gates reiterated that the USA backed the efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in the frameworks of the OSCE Minsk Group.


Following the meeting with the US Secretary of Defense, RA Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan went to the Millenium Challenge Corporation headquarters where he met with MCC Chief Executive Director John Danilovich.


Speaking about the USA-Armenia economic cooperation, the head of the Armenian government expressed high appreciation of Armenia's inclusion in the US Government-administered Millenium Challenge Program, which has a primary goal of boosting economic growth and curbing poverty in rural areas.


Ambassador John Danilovich evoked the upcoming MCC Managing Board meeting, scheduled for this November, which is due to examine the participating countries' annual performance and noted that a preliminary report indicated that the headquarters was of favorable opinion about Armenia's performance in 2007. The Prime Minister of Armenia noticed that according to the country development standings drawn up by the MCC for the year 2007, Armenia was promoted from "low-income"countries to "medium-income countries," which was a strong incentive for our country to be more consistent in its efforts under the program and added that, in view of the above, the Government of Armenia had formulated sufficiently ambitious targets in the 2008 draft budget law and that the efforts made to this end were supposed to affect favorably the MCA's performance indicators.


John Danilovich noted that at this stage the MCC was seeking to concentrate upon those countries already selected rather than to get new recruits. From this point of view, he prioritized the work over the possibility of having a second MCC program in parallel to the one in process. Ambassador Danilovich noticed that US Congress had a general disposition to make a legislative amendment enabling the participants to avail themselves of a second facility. The Prime Minister of Armenia expressed readiness to back this process.


In the second half of the day, RA Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan had a meeting with US Vice-President Richard Cheney with an extensive agenda regarding US-Armenian relationship.


In noting that currently the relations between Armenia and the USA were at a rising tide, the Prime Minister stressed our country's willingness to continue and deepen them. He thanked the government of the United States for the political and economic support provided to Armenia since independence. Speaking about the pace of democratic reforms underway in our country, the Prime Minister said that authorities in Armenia were firm in their drive to build a modern-type democratic State. Vice-President Richard Cheney reiterated the readiness of the USA to henceforth back Armenia with the implementation of these reforms.


During the meeting, which lasted longer than planned, the parties have also referred to the political developments of the Middle East, as well as to the Karabakh peace settlement process and the Armenia-Turkish relationship. In presenting Armenia's attitude towards these issues, the Prime Minister mentioned that while the acknowledgement of the Genocide was high on Armenia's foreign policy agenda, nevertheless, our country was prepared to take practical steps to regularize its relationship with neighboring Turkey without any pre-conditions. With reference to the Karabakh issue, the head of the Armenian government said that Armenia continued abiding by its approach of a compromise-based prompt and peaceful settlement of the conflict. He said to be hopeful that the talks underway within the frameworks of the OSCE Minsk Group would yield a positive result. Vice-President Cheney reaffirmed the interest of the United States in the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations and the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict.


Richard Cheney expressed high opinion of the Armenian community of the United States and appreciated that the Prime Minister had fixed several appointments with the representatives of this community.


On the evening of October 18, 2007, RA Prime Minister's delegation left Washington for Los Angeles where the head of the Armenian government is scheduled to meet with the editorial board of "The Los Angeles Times," the executives of Lincy Foundation, as well as the leaders of the Armenian community.

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