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RA-US Cooperation of 2016: Existing Formats and the Perspectives of Their Development

US Embassy in Armenia

In 2016, due to the US presidential elections, US foreign policy became relatively more passive, which was also manifested in the Armenian-American relations. Despite this, the year was marked by a number of exciting initiatives, including the "Hayastan" investment forum held in New York on October 10. The forum was also attended by the RA President. It is interesting to note that during his recent interview, US Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills also referred to the conference, emphasizing its importance. According to him, the conference made it possible to show Armenia’s EAEU membership to American investors as a new gateway to a bigger market. This, of course, can be an important stimulus for the growth of American investments.

On October 7, 2016 the 24th session of the Armenian-American Intergovernmental Commission was held in Washington attended by senior US officials. The discussions within the meeting were related to the further development and deepening of the Armenian-American cooperation in areas such as mining, civil aviation, energy, corruption fighting, etc.. In the future, it is necessary to continue this format of cooperation, expanding and deepening the areas of cooperation.

In 2016, a number of US high officials, including US Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Brigitte Brink, US Deputy Assistant of Secretary of Defense, Michael Carpenter, a member of the US House of Representatives Jim Costa visited Armenia. During the visits and meetings held the necessity of further deepening of the Armenian-American cooperation in various sectors was highlighted.

Of course, summing up US-Armenian relations in 2016, we should also talk about the steps taken by the United States, as a Co-Chair of the Minsk Group, in the context of Karabakh conflict settlement.  Among them, the meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan organized by the US State Secretary in Vienna after the April war should be highlighted. The agreements  reached during that meeting and their full implementation can contribute to an atmosphere of trust between the parties.

In this context, the direct relations between NKR, as a conflicting side, and various US entities are also important. It is noteworthy that in 2016, two US states, Hawaii and Georgia, recognized the NKR independence and thus the number of American states recognizing NKR reached seven. In addition, in 2016 the US continued to provide direct financial aid to Artsakh, which will also continue in 2017.

If we try to sum up 2016, the activity of the Armenian-American relations can be considered sufficient, but not satisfactory. In order to deepen the relations, it may be necessary to continue the cooperation not only in the current formats, but also to create new platforms for further expansion of cooperation. As such can be a new inter-party dialogue format between US and Armenia. The development and implementation of specific agenda of cooperation with  separate US states by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia (in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) may become another platform for cooperation.

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