Tillerson: Washington Will Carry on With Its Support for Armenia’s Security

U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian have exchanged letters in connection with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between their countries.

In his letter to Tillerson cited by the Armenian Foreign Ministry last Tuesday, Nalbandian said the United States and Armenia have had “many remarkable achievements” in their “friendly relationship based mutual trust and respect.” The Armenian government intends to deepen it, he wrote, according to a ministry statement.

“The Armenian foreign minister emphasized that the United States was the first country that opened an embassy in Yerevan [in 1992] and stood with our newly independent state, including through broad assistance programs that proved particularly vital during the first years of its independence,” said the statement.

Nalbandian said that the U.S and Armenia have also been “closely cooperating” within the framework of various international organizations. Yerevan also attaches “great importance” to U.S involvement in international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he was reported to add.

According to the statement, Tillerson told his Armenian counterpart that Washington will carry on with its contribution to Armenia’s security, democratization, and economic development. He also hailed recent years’ sizable increase in U.S investments in the Armenian economy.

The U.S ambassador in Yerevan, Richard Mills, spoke of “considerable progress” in U.S-Armenian economic ties in February. He pointed to multimillion dollar U.S investments in Armenia’s energy and mining sectors.

Tillerson and Nalbandian discussed the bilateral agenda and the Karabakh conflict in their first-ever phone call in early March. They have yet to meet in person.

The U.S Embassy in Yerevan gave a largely positive assessment of the conduct of the April 2nd parliamentary elections in Armenia. In an April 4th statement, it backed the preliminary findings of an OSCE-led monitoring team which said the vote was “well administered” but “tainted by credible information about vote-buying” and pressure on voters. But the embassy also said that electronic anti-fraud equipment installed in the Armenian polling stations helped prevent more serious irregularities.

The U.S government joined the European Union in financing the purchase of that equipment this year.

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