PM Pashinyan Meets with US Congress Members

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called for increased U.S. assistance to Armenia noting that radical reforms have been implemented by his government when he met with eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives in Yerevan on Thursday.

The U.S. congressional delegation comprised David Price, the chairman of the House Democracy Partnership, and other members of the bipartisan commission tasked with supporting legislatures in emerging democracies. It met with Armenian parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan on Wednesday.

Pashinyan told the visiting American lawmakers that boosting Armenia’s relations with the United States is one of his administration’s foreign policy priorities. According to a statement by the prime minister’s office, he briefed them on political and economic reforms launched in the country after last year’s “velvet revolution.”

“Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that his government is taking consistent steps to strengthen the institutional and economic power of democracy and expects the support of our international partners, including the United States,” said the statement.

“The Congress members assured of their willingness to assist Armenia in promoting democracy, implementing economic reforms and strengthening the Armenian-American friendship,” it added.

Speaking in the Armenian parliament late last month, Pashinyan complained about Washington’s “zero reaction” to democratic change in his country. He seemed unhappy with the fact that there has been no significant increase in U.S. economic assistance to Yerevan since he came to power a year ago.

The U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Lynne Tracy, responded to the criticism when she spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Monday. Tracy, who accompanied the U.S. lawmakers during their meetings in Yerevan, argued that the U.S. has provided over $2 billion in aid to Armenia since 1992 and is committed to more such assistance.