(Graphic: The Armenian Weekly)
On May 16, U.S. President Donald Trump sent congratulations to Armenia’s newly elected prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, and said his administration will cooperate with the new Armenian government on “the many areas of mutual interest.” The State Department sent similar remarks hours after the President’s statement. Pashinian’s chief of staff, Eduard Aghajanian, welcomed the congratulatory letter from Trump and told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that a deepening of U.S.-Armenian ties is “inevitable.” “I am confident that our relations with all countries and the U.S. in particular have a very serious potential for development,” he said. Washington had closely monitored the recent dramatic developments in Armenia that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian and his replacement by Pashinyan.
The Armenian National Committee (ANCA) took the opportunity to highlight the clear difference between Trump’s message to Pashninyan and an earlier note to Azerbaijani President Aliyev—most notably that Trump’s Armenia letter opens with congratulations, while the Azerbaijan letter (conspicuously) does not congratulate Aliyev. “The meaningful contrast between the White House’s congratulatory letter to Armenia’s Prime Minister Pashinyan and its pro forma note to President Aliyev—which did not even mention Azerbaijan’s deeply undemocratic election—may very well represent progress toward the ANCA’s long-term aim of ending the flawed policy of false parity that has, for far too long, characterized America’s approach to Armenia and Artsakh, on the one hand, and Azerbaijan on the other—on issues of peace, democracy, and development,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian in a statement.