Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan at a Signing Ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Strategic Civil Nuclear Cooperation

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan at a Signing Ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Strategic Civil Nuclear Cooperation

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

Benjamin Franklin Room

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  It is a great pleasure to welcome the foreign minister from Armenia here to the State Department, to the United States.  Ararat, it’s very good to be with you today, to be with your entire team.  We just had a very good dialogue, exchange between us, and indeed a big part of the purpose of these meetings is to relaunch the Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Armenia that was suspended because of COVID.  This is a very important vehicle by which we can continue to deepen and strengthen our relationship to pursue new areas of cooperation and collaboration, and we’re very pleased to be able to do that now.

At the same time, we will shortly be signing this Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear cooperation.  This too, for the United States and Armenia, opens new cooperative paths and, I think, can also serve to strengthen very much the bilateral relationship between us.

I just want to take this opportunity as we’re sitting here to, in the first instance, praise the leadership of the prime minister and his government, the democratic reforms that they’ve been pursuing, the progress that continues to be made – but also to very much welcome the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and to express real appreciation for the vision and the courage and the flexibility that the prime minister and Armenia have been showing in this process working toward what we all want, which is a lasting peace.

And finally, let me say, Mr. Minister, to you, to all of your colleagues, it’s – it really is a great pleasure being able to work with you as we work to strengthen and deepen our relations.  These are challenging times in many, many ways, and they’re challenging for Armenia, but know that you have a strong and true friend and partner in the United States.  Welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER MIRZOYAN:  Thank you.  Dear Secretary Blinken, it is a great pleasure for me to be here.  Thank you for your invitation and also for a very warm welcome.  This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, and during these years we have succeeded to build very strong relations based on common and shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Now after the democratic Velvet Revolution of 2018, through joint efforts, we elevated the level of our collaboration, cooperation to Strategic Dialogue.  And it is very significant that I am here also in scope of the capstone session of the Strategic Dialogue.  And during this session, we focused on our democratic reforms, justice reforms, cooperation in banking sphere, looking ways of deepening cooperation in the sphere of defense, and of course prevention and fight against corruption, and many other areas.  And we appreciate United States efforts to support our reforms.

Armenia also appreciate United States support for developing Armenia’s energy sector, and I was talking about – I was speaking also about exploring new areas, and here it will be honor for me to sign with you the Memorandum of Understanding on our civil nuclear cooperation.

And I also want to note that we value our partnership aimed at peace and stability in our region, and in this regard I want to highlight the important role the United States of America play as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has a mandate from the international community to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  I also appreciate United States support through the Armenia-Turkish normalization process and United States strong stance on the recognition on the condemnation of the Armenian genocide and confirmation of this stance this year, too.

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

(The Memorandum of Understanding is signed.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.  Good to be with you.

FOREIGN MINISTER MIRZOYAN:  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  It is a great pleasure to welcome the foreign minister from Armenia here to the State Department, to the United States.  Ararat, it’s very good to be with you today, to be with your entire team.  We just had a very good dialogue, exchange between us, and indeed a big part of the purpose of these meetings is to relaunch the Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Armenia that was suspended because of COVID.  This is a very important vehicle by which we can continue to deepen and strengthen our relationship to pursue new areas of cooperation and collaboration, and we’re very pleased to be able to do that now.

At the same time, we will shortly be signing this Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear cooperation.  This too, for the United States and Armenia, opens new cooperative paths and, I think, can also serve to strengthen very much the bilateral relationship between us.

I just want to take this opportunity as we’re sitting here to, in the first instance, praise the leadership of the prime minister and his government, the democratic reforms that they’ve been pursuing, the progress that continues to be made – but also to very much welcome the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and to express real appreciation for the vision and the courage and the flexibility that the prime minister and Armenia have been showing in this process working toward what we all want, which is a lasting peace.

And finally, let me say, Mr. Minister, to you, to all of your colleagues, it’s – it really is a great pleasure being able to work with you as we work to strengthen and deepen our relations.  These are challenging times in many, many ways, and they’re challenging for Armenia, but know that you have a strong and true friend and partner in the United States.  Welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER MIRZOYAN:  Thank you.  Dear Secretary Blinken, it is a great pleasure for me to be here.  Thank you for your invitation and also for a very warm welcome.  This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, and during these years we have succeeded to build very strong relations based on common and shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Now after the democratic Velvet Revolution of 2018, through joint efforts, we elevated the level of our collaboration, cooperation to Strategic Dialogue.  And it is very significant that I am here also in scope of the capstone session of the Strategic Dialogue.  And during this session, we focused on our democratic reforms, justice reforms, cooperation in banking sphere, looking ways of deepening cooperation in the sphere of defense, and of course prevention and fight against corruption, and many other areas.  And we appreciate United States efforts to support our reforms.

Armenia also appreciate United States support for developing Armenia’s energy sector, and I was talking about – I was speaking also about exploring new areas, and here it will be honor for me to sign with you the Memorandum of Understanding on our civil nuclear cooperation.

And I also want to note that we value our partnership aimed at peace and stability in our region, and in this regard I want to highlight the important role the United States of America play as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has a mandate from the international community to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  I also appreciate United States support through the Armenia-Turkish normalization process and United States strong stance on the recognition on the condemnation of the Armenian genocide and confirmation of this stance this year, too.

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

(The Memorandum of Understanding is signed.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.  Good to be with you.

FOREIGN MINISTER MIRZOYAN:  Thank you.