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Official News

Friday, 3 October 2008


RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan received newly appointed US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Armenia Marie Iovanovich.


The Prime Minister congratulated the Ambassador on appointment and expressed conviction that the traditions of friendship as established and sustained between the two countries since Armenia's independence will be successfully continued and strengthened during Ms. Iovanovich's tenure By noting that following the genocide of Armenians in particular, the United States became a second homeland for many Armenians, Tigran Sargsyan evoked with gratitude the assistance provided to our country by the government and the people of the United States and said it to be further evidence of friendship.


As assured by the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador, she has been enjoying quite a warm welcome since the very first days of her stay in Armenia. She said it to be honorable for her to represent the United States in a country with long traditions of mutual cooperation and friendship.


Marie Iovanovich asked the Prime Minister about his expectations as to continued cooperation with the US Embassy and the USAID and the priorities of the Armenian government.


Tigran Sargsyan highlighted the ongoing reforms in tax and customs administrations which according to the Prime Minister are directly associated with the drive for ensuring equal conditions in economic competition, curbing corruption, building civil society and promoting fundamental freedoms. "Should we manage to achieve a qualitative shift in this field, we will be blessed with a better future," Tigran Sargsyan has stressed.


The Prime Minister further said that as approved by the World Bank and the IMF, this sufficiently ambitious program meets with some resistance inside the country. Nevertheless, the Government has a strong focus and will combat any such phenomena as may hinder economic expansion. He advised that serious efforts are underway towards building up a solid resource of highly qualified specialists in the tax and customs systems. The Prime Minister stressed the need for introducing risk-based monitoring and control tools. He indicated that major business is the target number one for these reforms.


The parties then referred to the possibility of maintaining the US government's support to Armenia under the Millenium Challenge Program. Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said to be hopeful that the upcoming (November, 2008) MCC Managing Board meeting will give a favorable consideration to this issue.


In this connection, Ambassador Marie Iovanovich said that stakeholders in Washington were very much impressed by Armenia's funding of part of program activities in the course of this year. "This demonstrates Armenia's great sense of responsibility with regard to program implementation," Ms. Iovanovich said and added that the United States would similarly like to see as much commitment in addressing the internal issues on the part of the Armenian authorities. Here, she conveyed the US Government's and people's concerns over the arrests conducted following the March 1-2 events. Ms. Iovanovich expressed hope that court proceedings will be carried out in a possibly unbiased, transparent and expedited manner, though she agreed with the Prime Minister in that "one can hardly expect fairness of speedy justice."


Tigran Sargsyan noted that the trials are given wide publicity, they are followed closely by the civil society at home and international organizations abroad, with each magistrate being well aware of the possibility of appealing their rulings with the European Court of Justice: "Our duty is to ensure that law is enforced in full," the head of government said.


In conclusion, the Prime Minister of Armenia wished Ambassador Marie Iovanovich every success all the way through her diplomatic mission in our country and assured her of the Armenian government's readiness to cooperation.

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