The Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan met separately with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill, and discussed advancing relations between Armenia and United States.
Mirzoyan is in Washington to take part in the House Democracy Partnership’s Leadership Forum.
During his meeting with Pelosi on Wednesday, Mirzoyan briefed the Speaker of House on the recent developments in Armenia and thanked the congresswoman for her continues support of Armenian issues, as well as her contributions in advancing US-Armenia relations.
As they discussed issues of importance to advance bi-lateral relations, Pelosi praised the democratic reforms in Armenia and highlighted the changes ushered in after the popular movement last year.
On Tuesday, Mirzoyan met with McConnell, with whom he discussed the current political developments in Armenia, underscoring the importance of support to Armenia by the United States.
The sides discussed opportunities to increase financial support being provided to Armenia by the United States, foreign policy issues and regional stability and energy security among other topics.
Mirzoyan told McConnell of the importance of joint programs between the Armenian parliament and organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), which are aimed at developing the capabilities of legislatures and promoting a reform agenda.
Mirzoyan and McConnell also discussed practical steps to advance U.S.-Armenia relations.
Ahead of the congressional meeting, Mirzoyan, on Tuesday delivered a speech at the HDP Leadership Forum, entitled, “The Role of the Legislatures: the Importance of the Independence of the Legislatures in the Context of Preventing the Authoritarianism Danger,” which touched on the Velvet revolution and the reform agenda of the Armenian government.
Mirzoyan, who is being accompanied by fellow parliament member Edmon Marukyan, had the opportunity to meet with other U.S. lawmaker, as well as counterparts from other countries attending the leadership forum.
On Monday, Mirzoyan spoke at the think tank, the Atlantic Council, where he said that the United States should not pressure Armenia to cut commercial ties to neighboring Iran because of U.S. sanctions against Tehran.
Saying that the renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran were already having a negative impact on the Armenian economy, Mirzoyan said, “We don’t want the United States to put pressure on Armenia for joining in its Iran sanctions agenda,” the Armenian service of the Voice of America quoted him as saying. “Armenia cannot pay such a price.”