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U.S. Envoy In Armenia Sees No Fallout From 'Illegal' Leaks

U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
YEREVAN -- The U.S. ambassador to Armenia says the publication of thousands of leaked U.S. diplomatic documents will not have a negative impact on Washington's "very close" relations with Yerevan, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch repeated on December 2 the U.S. government's strong condemnation of the "illegal disclosure" by the WikiLeaks website. "It threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with friends, allies, and partners around the world," she said.

"I think as we've seen, our partnership with countries around the world is strong enough to withstand this and to grow and become even stronger," Yovanovitch told reporters. "And I certainly believe that's true with regard to Armenia."

"We have had a longstanding and very close relationship with Armenia and Armenians around the world, and that will only continue," she added, speaking at the reopening of a village kindergarten in the southern Ararat Province that has been refurbished with U.S. government funding.

One of the alleged classified cables disclosed by WikiLeaks indicated that Washington accused Armenia of re-exporting weapons to Iran and threatened sanctions against Yerevan two years ago. In a secret December 2008 letter, then-Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte pressed President Serzh Sarkisian to take wide-ranging measures that would "ensure such transfers do not occur in the future."

Both the Armenian government and the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan have declined to comment on the hitherto unpublicized affair. Officials from Sarkisian's ruling party have said the claims of arms exports to Iran are untrue.

Yovanovitch noted that the United States has been implementing "very large and very active assistance programs" in Armenia in a wide range of areas, including defense and security.

"The most important thing is that it's a partnership program," she said. "We work on these programs together with the government of Armenia or Armenian citizens, and that's something I'm really proud of."

Armenia has received approximately $1.8 billion worth of U.S. assistance since its independence.