Armenia is interested in exploring the possibilities of cooperation with the US for defense transformation

The RA Foreign Minister made an opening speech at the start of the concluding session of the RA-US strategic dialogue.

"Acting Secretary O'Brien,

Dear Colleagues,

With great pleasure, I welcome you and the US delegation to Yerevan for the second concluding meeting of the Armenia-US strategic dialogue.

Today's meeting is another expression of the high-level political dialogue between our two countries, which will give new impetus to the developing partnership between Armenia and the United States.

At the core of our partnership is a solid commitment to democratic principles. Even though democracy is threatened worldwide, including in our region, despite security challenges and emerging hybrid threats, the Government of Armenia is determined to follow the democratic choices made by its people to strengthen relevant state institutions to ensure the rule of law and substantial human rights. Protection. In this context, our active participation in the "For Democracy" summit in recent years is one of the bright manifestations of Armenia's commitment and involvement, aimed at building a more robust democracy that will be resilient enough to face and overcome all difficulties. I am confident that our like-minded partners, particularly the United States, fully support and stand by us to prove that democracies can achieve results.

To succeed, we need to deepen multi-sectoral and cross-cutting cooperation, including but not limited to economy and energy, defense and security, high-tech and cyber security, justice, and the rule of law. Our bilateral agenda continues expanding and includes important directions for Armenia's resilience and sustainable development. In this context, I want to mention the Armenia-US-EU high-level meeting held in Brussels on April 5, 2024, and the agreements reflected in the joint press statement.

We also believe that the expanded RA-US partnership, along with the continued US support for the Republic of Armenia's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, has great potential to contribute to the establishment of a stable and dignified peace in the South Caucasus.

In this context, I would like to reaffirm that Armenia is committed to the process of normalizing relations with Azerbaijan and demarcating borders based on the mutual recognition of territorial integrity based on the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991. There is a real opportunity, a historic moment, to finalize the draft peace treaty, the signing of which can open a new door for long-lasting peace in the region.

As part of the peace agenda and regional development vision, Armenia is also keenly interested in unblocking all regional communications based on the principles of full respect for countries' sovereignty and jurisdiction, equality, and reciprocity. Our government's Crossroads of Peace initiative best expresses this.

Dear Colleagues,

Turning to the agenda of today's meeting, we will discuss a wide range of concrete steps and programs, starting from the diversification of the economy and energy sector to cooperation in the defense sector and justice sector reforms. We have effectively cooperated within the framework of three working groups created under the auspices of the Armenia-US strategic dialogue, holding relevant meetings during 2023. Given the growing nature and dynamics of bilateral relations, we hope to raise our strategic dialogue to the level of a new Strategic Partnership Commission, which can further strengthen the structural foundations of our multilateral cooperation.

Regarding sectoral cooperation.

Today, we will have the opportunity to discuss growing economic cooperation, including within the framework of the Armenia-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and further trade liberalization, which can provide Armenia with new opportunities for greater prosperity, economic development, and resilience. Additional mechanisms and effective tools support the diversification of the economy, and we will discuss how to best use them.

Given the current challenges, energy diversification is also an essential part of our agenda. We will discuss the work already done and consider the future, including nuclear power and renewables.

Regarding defense cooperation, I must note with satisfaction the holding of the 2023 "Eagle Partner" military exercise. We are interested in exploring further opportunities for collaboration to transform Armenia's defense.

I would also like to emphasize justice and public administration reforms and Armenia's commitment to strengthening democratic institutions, which aim to create a stronger, safer, and more progressive environment for our citizens. We have made significant progress, and the results are tangible and visible.

Dear Colleagues,

I highlighted our main priorities today, while our interest in expanding cooperation goes beyond the areas I mentioned. We have a comprehensive agenda, and I look forward to a productive session. I am confident our discussions today will strengthen our partnership and promote our shared vision of a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous future."