YEREVAN (Armenpress) – Armenia and the US marked the 25th anniversary of the partnership between Armenia and USAID today. Political, diplomatic, and public figures were present at the event.
In this course of Armenia-US relations, USAID has played an important role in strengthening bilateral relations.
Prime Minister of Armenia Karen Karapetyan, who was present at the event, mentioned in his speech that the USAID has rendered significant assistance to Armenia during the past 25 years, specifically helping to establish a democratic market economy.
“There were also humanitarian projects directed at aiding those affected by the earthquake,” said Karapetyan. “At the end of the 90, cooperation evolved and the emphasis was placed on market economy, empowerment of the private sector, macroeconomic reforms, fostering the investment atmospheres, and creating grounds for a sustainable development.”
The prime minister also noted that the US is one of Armenia’s main partners and there is more potential to develop cooperation.
US Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills noted that it was possible to achieve progress in Armenia since the USAID collaborated with its Armenian partners side by side.
“The first staff members of the USAID arrived in Armenia 25 years ago with a goal of a long-term cooperation with the people of Armenia on their way to creating a sovereign and independent state. As the first official at the State Department responsible for the Armenian affairs and the first diplomat in Washington who was focused on daily basis on the issues facing the newly independent Republic of Armenia, I could see at least from distance how difficult those dark years were when the first employees of the USAID arrived” said Mills, gladly recording the progress of Armenia in economy, democracy, development of mass media and civil society.
The ambassador was content with the fact that the Armenian government has declared fighting corruption a priority goal and takes measures in that direction.
“Back in 1992, I held the position at the State Department that was engaged in issues with Armenia and was the first official to follow the developments in Armenia on a daily basis. As a foreigner, I see the facts and progress more clearly that took place during the past 25 years and USAID has had a significant role in that progress. During these years, fight against corruption and the steps of the government directed at the services provided to the public were in the focus of USAID’s activities,” the Ambassador said.
According to Mills, although there were numerous achievements, there is still much to be done.
“It has never been our goal to keep the USAID present in Armenia forever but attempts were made to develop capacities and mechanisms that will allow Armenia to engage in various issues. I want to note with great satisfaction that the sum to be allocated to Armenia next year will be increased, but it should also be noted that USAID will not remain in Armenia forever,” the Ambassador concluded.
USAID/Armenia Mission Director Deborah Grieser thanked the former and present partners of the Agency for productive work.
Since 1992, $1 billion in assistance has been provided to Armenia by USAID through various projects.