On March 31, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan arrived in Washington, D.C. from Boston, MA to attend the Nuclear Security Summit. Before the summit, President Sargsyan met with the United States Vice President Joseph Biden at the White House and discussed key issues such as U.S.-Armenia relations, the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict, and Syrian refugees.
President Sargsyan and Vice President Biden have met before, on May 7, 2015 during the interfaith liturgy held at the Washington National Cathedral which was dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
Both parties discussed the positive U.S.-Armenia relations since Armenia’s independence 25 years ago thanks to mutual efforts and political will. President Sargsyan and Vice President Biden noted areas of their good-standing relations, including political, economic, humanitarian, and security, and that these two countries reach new achievements together each year.
According to President Sargsyan, Armenian-American cooperation has currently reached its highest level to date, which is a result of reciprocal visits from different government officials to each country in recent years. The President of Armenia hailed U.S. assistance towards Armenia’s economic advancement and implementation of reforms.
Both parties discussed the situation in the South Caucasus, pressing international issues, and challenges.
The Vice President stressed that the United States is committed to a democratic, prosperous, and secure Armenia at peace with its neighbors, according to a White House statement. Vice President Biden expressed concern about continued violence, called for dialogue, and emphasized the importance of a comprehensive settlement for the long-term stability, security, and prosperity of the region.
President Sargsyan responded by pointing out the importance of the U.S.’s role in maintaining regional security and stability, emphasizing active U.S. involvement in the Nagorno Karabakh peace process.
The President of Armenia said the Armenian side is relying on the international community, particularly the engagement of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair states, to undertake practical steps that can still make a difference.
In addition, President Sargsyan showed his appreciation to the U.S. Congressmen for their efforts aimed at a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh issue. The President of Armenia said steps taken by the Congressmen could be an example for the parliamentarians of many other states.
With regards to the Middle East, President Sargsyan noted that Armenia is deeply concerned with the terrorist groups’ actions carried out in the vicinity of the region and strongly condemns their violence and destruction. President Sargsyan mentioned that the atrocities conducted in Iraq and Syria resulted in many Armenians being killed or forced to become refugees. Also, centuries old relics of Armenian spiritual and cultural heritage have been destroyed and damaged.
The Vice President thanked President Sargsyan for welcoming more than 20,000 Syrian refugees into Armenia. He praised Armenia’s efforts in providing shelter to a large number of refugees and creating normal living conditions for the Syrian Armenians.
They both expressed hope that there will be efficient methods developed for the resolution of the problems of minorities still currently residing in the Middle East, for the return of the Christian communities, and for the protection of their ancient culture and heritage. President Sargsyan and Vice President Biden also expressed confidence that it would be possible to withstand exiting challenges through joint efforts
Photo Caption 1: Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan speaking with United States Vice President Joseph Biden at the White House before the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit on March 31,2016.
Photo Caption 2:
President Sargsyan and Vice President Biden standing beside each other during liturgy in memory of the Armenian Genocide victims at the Washington National Cathedral
on May 7, 2015.