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Armenian PM Pashinyan during UN General Assembly

July 31, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06), Co-Chair of the Armenian Issues Caucus, led 48 members of Congress, in a letter calling on President Trump to meet with Armenia's newly elected Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, while he is in the United States for the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in September.

Over the past few months, Armenia has seen a remarkable change in its government through peaceful and democratic means known as the "Velvet Revolution". This grassroots movement, led by Mr. Pashinyan, resulted in the peaceful end of former President and Prime Minister Sergh Sargsyan's ten year rule of Armenia. In a small, post-Soviet and landlocked country like Armenia, this non-violent transfer of power between governments is unprecedented and incredible.

A conversation between President Trump and Prime Minister Pashinyan emphasizing economic development, security and democracy is critical for a strong pivot towards a strategic partnership between our countries.

The text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Mr. President,

We urge you to meet with the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, while he is visiting the United States in September for the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Republic of Armenia has seen a remarkable change in its government through peaceful and democratic means over the past few months. As part of this movement, Mr. Pashinyan – a former newspaper editor and political prisoner – led tens of thousands of Armenians through the streets of Yerevan to protest former President and Prime Minister Sargsyan's decade-long rule. Prior to being voted into his role as Prime Minister in May, Mr. Pashinyan organized this nonviolent grassroots movement known as the “Velvet Revolution,” which ultimately forced Mr. Sargsyan to resign.

The peaceful transition of power after the revolution is a clear indication of the will of the Armenian people, strongly demonstrating their commitment to a fairer and more democratic state.  As Armenia seeks to bolster government transparency, strengthen democratic institutions, and empower civil society, it is critical for the United States to deepen its ties with this regional partner at every level of government. Without question, your meeting with Prime Minister Pashinyan would help to further this goal and strengthen dialogue between our countries.

Additionally, we are requesting a series of high-level conversations between your Cabinet Secretaries and their counterparts in Armenia – many of whom have recently been appointed as members of the newly formed government. These meetings would help to establish a critical bridge between our countries, helping to further increase Armenia’s inclusion in the international system and likely leading to more comprehensive US-Armenian bilateral trade.

We believe that the peaceful protests witnessed during the Velvet Revolution can be a model for nations seeking democracy around the world. In the long run, we would like to see Armenia develop stronger diplomatic relations with our Western allies and progress as a democratic nation within Eurasia. We reiterate our request and urge you to meet with Prime Minister Pashinyan to discuss the future of Armenian-American relations based on our shared values emphasizing economic development, security, human rights and democracy.

We look forward to hearing from you regarding our request.

Sincerely,