YREVAN (Combined Sources)—President Serzh Sarkisian will meet President Barack Obama during his visit to Washington next week, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Wednesday.
“We are confident that the upcoming meeting of the presidents of Armenia and the United States will give new impetus, a new quality to our bilateral relations,” he told journalists.
Secretary Robert Gibbs announced which countries would participate in the nuclear security summit on April 12-13 and which bilateral meetings would take place with Obama during a Tuesday press conference at the White House, reported the Hurriyet Newspaper.
Earlier reports said Obama would host a trilateral meeting to also include Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Sarkisian to give impetus to the slow-moving normalization process between Turkey and Armenia.
Responding to a question on whether Erdoğan would attend the meeting between Obama and Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, Gibbs concisely said, “No meeting.”
According to Gibbs, besides Sarkisian, Obama will meet the leaders of China, Germany, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa and Kazakhstan. His meeting with Sarkisian will focus on the recent Armenia-Turkish thaw, Gibbs said.
However, a senior White House official, who wants to remain anonymous, said they expect the president will have a chance to talk to Prime Minister Erdoğan as they will be seated next to each other at one of the events.
Another source in Washington who is closely following the unfolding nuclear security summit meeting’s agenda said, “This development could be yet another reason for a new crisis between the two countries.”
Ömer Taşpınar, director of the Turkey Program at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, said the meeting between Sarkisian and Obama might cover other issues beside the normalization process.
The increasingly close relationship between Armenia and Iran, including some energy deals, has raised eyebrows in Washington, Taşpınar said, adding that it is possible Obama will raise this issue during his meeting with Sarkisian