President Sargsyan meets U.S. Senate leaders, praises American assistance

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has praised U.S. assistance provided to Armenia since independence as well as America’s role in maintaining peace in the South Caucasus as he met with senior members of the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC, this week.

As part of his working visit to the United States (May 5-7) Sargsyan met with the Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain, as well as two pro-Armenian Democratic senators, Robert Menendez and Jack Reed on Tuesday.

According to the press release of the Armenian president’s administration, Sargsyan highly evaluated the U.S. assistance that has been provided for years to shore up the nation’s economic development, reforms and democratization as well as help promote civil society.

“The president highly assessed the U.S. role in maintaining regional security and stability, including the United States’ active involvement, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the participants of the meeting discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and other “regional issues and challenges.” In that context, they spoke about ways of creating “alternative transport and energy options” for Armenia given its closed borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Earlier during the day President Sargsyan also met with the OSCE Minsk Group’s American Co-Chair James Warlick.

As part of his visit to the United States on Wednesday President Sargsyan visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The Armenian leader left a note in the guest book, got familiarized with the exhibits and paid tribute to the victims near the Eternal Flame.

“This is a place, the walls of which adjoin the deep sorrow and a ray of hope, which underlines the predominance of courage to look in the eyes of the past as opposed to denial and concealment of the past. This is an invaluable contribution to a sustainable future. Museums dedicated to crimes against humanity, which are the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, serve not only as a tribute to the victims, but also a clear message to current and future generations: always keep in mind the bitter memories of the past, draw lessons and pass on to future generations,” President Sargsyan wrote.

Also, President Sargsyan visited the U.S. Library of Congress, where he also got acquainted with the library’s Armenian exhibits.

At a press conference in Yerevan on May 5, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills said Washington was “very pleased” that progress had been made towards the signing of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Armenia. The signing of the deal has been expected to take place during President Sargsyan’s working visit to Washington, DC, this week.