Remarks With Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 4, 2013

The video is available with closed captioning on YouTube.

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. It’s my pleasure today to welcome Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian from Armenia. And for me, it is a particular pleasure to welcome him because I think everybody knows Massachusetts is home to one of the largest populations of Armenians outside of Armenia, so we’re very happy. I have many, many friends in the Armenian community, and for years, have worked with my friends in Armenia on a number of different issues.

Armenia today is an important partner with United States in a number of initiatives. Importantly, they’re helping us in Afghanistan with ISAF, they’ve played a key role in Kosovo helping to keep peace there. And one of the most issues, obviously, that we all really want to try to see resolved one day is the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is critical that all the parties – when I say all the parties, I mean, obviously, the Azerbaijanis, but also Turkey, Russia, Iran, others – try to find a way to help break the impasse that has kept this struggle alive and always potentially dangerous. So my hope is that we will talk about that a little bit today.

We also have other issues of great importance to us: the economic partnership, the development of the economy and strengthening of democracy, and the security of our friends, the Armenian people. So Mr. Foreign Minister, we’re very, very happy to welcome you here today. Thank you. Good to have you.

FOREIGN MINISTER NALBANDIAN: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be in Washington. Thank you very much for a warm welcome. I’m very glad to be back to Washington to meet you, Secretary, and to have a conversation on perspectives of enhancement of the friendly partnership between Armenia and the United States.

Both countries have a good interaction in the international arena covering international regional security, proliferation, fight against terrorism, as you mentioned, peacekeeping operations from Kosovo to Afghanistan, other challenges. We are sharing vision – same vision – that it is important to continue efforts to find exclusively peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles and norms of international law, particularly non-use of force or threat of force, self-determination, territorial integrity. We are sharing the vision that the relations between Armenia and Turkey should be normalized without preconditions. We are sharing the same values of democracy, fundamental freedoms, liberty, human rights, market economy. We are very thankful that during the last two decades since our independence, United States extended very important support for Armenia, and we are thankful for that.

I would like to use also opportunity to express our gratitude to the President Obama Administration for remarkable contribution to the strengthening of Armenian-American relations, which are today in their highest point. And I’m sure and confident that with our joint efforts, we could elevate that to new heights. And the trust and understanding between our two countries is – are the best pillars to extend further our relations.

Thank you again very much. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much, Edward. Thank you, sir. Thank you all very much. Thank you.

PRN: 2013/0681