Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   19 January

Armenia is a valued friend and partner to USA: John Heffern

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 4, ARMENPRESS. The new Secretary of State John Kerry has already assumed the office. "Armenpress" had a conversation with the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the U. S. to the Republic of Armenia John Heffern regarding the priorities of the U. S. policy in the South Caucasus and Armenia in particular.

- Will the foreign policy of the United States in the South Caucasus and particularly in Armenia change after the appointment of John Kerry as a new U.S. Secretary of State?

- Armenia is a valued friend and partner to the United States.  Our relationship spans a period of over twenty years and we enjoy a broad range of shared interests including preserving peace and regional security, promoting trade and investment to benefit both our economies, and advancing democratization and the rule of law.

We are also committed to Armenia's long-term economic development.  The U.S.-Armenia Joint Economic Task Force explores practical measures to bolster the competitiveness of the Armenian economy and enhance U.S.-Armenian commercial ties.

The relationship with Armenia is strong and important to the United States. We are committed to only a stronger and more prosperous Armenia.

- What position will the new Secretary of State adopt regarding the Armenian-American relations, N-K conflict settlement, and assistance given to Armenia and Artsakh and recognition of the Armenian Genocide? 

- The new U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, made the following statements during his confirmation hearings with the U.S. Senate: "The United States believes that the parties to this dispute must resolve this dangerous situation diplomatically; the Administration has firmly opposed any steps by any party that increase tensions in the region or threaten to damage the peace process in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, along with Russia and France, the United States responded swiftly when such threats first appeared, and the Administration has continued to raise the issue bilaterally and through the Minsk Group Co-Chairs.  If confirmed as Secretary of State, I will continue working to support the peace process and to oppose actions that could increase tensions in the region or damage the peace process.

The U.S. government clearly acknowledges and mourns as historical fact that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.   These events resulted in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, and the United States recognizes that they remain a great source of pain for the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent as they do for all of us who share basic universal values.  The President honors the victims every April 24th on Remembrance Day, so that we never forget this dark chapter in history.

If confirmed as Secretary of State, my duty would be to represent the policies of the President and Administration faithfully.  As the President has emphasized in his April 24 Remembrance Day statements, the achievement of a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts of what occurred in 1915 is in all our interests.  He also has said that the best way to advance that goal is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward.  The United States is encouraging Turkey at the highest levels to engage productively with Armenia on the normalization protocols, to open the border, to reinstitute transportation, communication, and utility links between the two countries, and to re-establish diplomatic relations.  If confirmed, I will continue to strongly support all efforts to normalize bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey so that together, they can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive, and prosperous.

The United States believes that full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia is important not only for the future of both countries, but for long-term stability and security in the Caucasus.   Normalization between Turkey and Armenia remains a prominent feature of our dialogue with both countries."


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