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Top U.S. Diplomat Meets Armenian Opposition Leader

Tina Kaidanow, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, met with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (right) on October 20.
YEREVAN -- U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Tina Kaidanow met with Armenian opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian in Yerevan at the end of her first visit to Armenia on October 21, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Ter-Petrosian's Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance said the two discussed "current developments in Turkish-Armenian relations" and the state of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

"Special attention was paid to the state of democracy in Armenia and, in particular, issues relating to the release of political prisoners and the fight against corruption," the opposition alliance said in a statement.

The political situation in Armenia was also on the agenda of Kaidanow's talks on October 20 with President Serzh Sarkisian.

His office reported that the U.S. official spoke of "considerable progress" in Armenia's democratization and described a general amnesty declared by the authorities in June as a big step in that direction.

The amnesty led to the release of dozens of opposition members arrested following last year's postelection unrest in Yerevan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia provided its account of Kaidanow's remarks on the subject.

"She stressed the importance of democratization efforts for Armenia's future and urged the government to take steps that will demonstrate Armenia's commitment to democratic progress," the embassy said in a statement on her three-day trip to Yerevan.

Kaidanow is expected to start a three-day visit to Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, today.