YEREVAN—Outgoing US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch issued a farewell letter, in which she praised US-Armenia relations and pledged continued US push for democracy and reforms in Armenia.
Below is the text of her letter:
“It has been an honor to serve my country and work together with so many talented Armenians. I leave with a mix of emotions, happy to return to family and friends in the U.S., but sad to leave this beautiful country at such a historic moment.
I believe that the United States and Armenia have much to be proud of. The U.S.-Armenia relationship is rooted in a shared belief in democracy, prosperity, and peace, and I hardly visit a corner of this country without seeing evidence of our successful cooperation. I have talked with citizen advocacy lawyers fighting to secure pensioner rights in Armavir, seen the fruits of our shared efforts to improve public health at Vanadzor Maternity Hospital, and marveled at the dedication to environmental protection of volunteers in Kapan.
During my three years in Armenia, I have witnessed a number of developments that underscore our strong bond and commitment to forging a bright future together.
One year ago, President Obama invited President Sargsyan to the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, underlining that the U.S. views Armenia as a good partner in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Secretary Clinton visited Armenia last year on Armenian Constitution Day, the first Secretary of State to come to Yerevan in 18 years. Secretary Clinton’s stroll down Northern Avenue on a beautiful summer evening symbolized the open and spontaneous exchange that must occur between the people and their government.
The U.S. Government’s activity in Armenia has supported sustainable development through increased competitiveness, stronger institutions, higher quality social and health services, and a more empowered civil society. USAID assistance has renovated two-thirds of Armenia’s neediest rural health facilities and helped mobilize civil society groups to combat corruption. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is completing $180 million in projects that will benefit 420,000 rural residents in 350 communities across Armenia through improvements to the country’s main canals and irrigation systems.
Over the last several years the Armenian government has registered admirable progress in combating the heinous crime of human trafficking. It has demonstrated its commitment to global security, sending troops to Afghanistan and strengthening Armenia’s export control regime. Restrictions on freedom of assembly have been relaxed. Citizens detained for actions related to the March 1, 2008 post-election events have been amnestied or granted early release.
More challenges lie ahead, however, and the United States is committed to helping Armenia reach its full potential. The U.S. is determined to facilitate a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We continue to support Armenia-Turkey reconciliation, both here and in Ankara. It should come as no surprise that the United States will continue to champion democracy, which is America’s founding principle and fundamental to Armenia’s political and economic development. We cooperate with the government and local partners to help consolidate democracy in Armenia through the promotion of the rule of law, good governance, and respect for human rights. The upcoming elections represent opportunities to restore broad faith in Armenian democracy. Only Armenians themselves can take the steps to fulfill their democratic aspirations, but the American people stand ready to help Armenia realize this moment for progress.
It is natural for our two countries to have differences, but I believe our shared belief in democracy, prosperity, and peace will guide future cooperation. I leave Armenia confident that our relationship will continue to strengthen and that together we will find new avenues to fashion a future that benefits us all.”