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Pashinian Sees Opportunity For Closer Armenia-U.S. Ties

Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian

Armenia's acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has said his talks with visiting White House national-security adviser John Bolton were held in “an extremely positive atmosphere.”

"I think there is a real opportunity to bring Armenia-U.S. relations to a new level. And we are ready to take advantage of this opportunity, " Pashinian wrote on his Facebook page on October 25.

Armenia has long had close ties with Russia, but questions about relations have increased since Pashinian in May ousted from power Serzh Sarkisian, seen as close to Moscow.

Bolton arrived in Armenia on October 24 after visiting Azerbaijan, where he discussed with top officials the conflict between the two neighbors over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Earlier in Moscow, he had held two talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other high officials.

In Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, Bolton told reporters that during talks with President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, the Nagorno-Karabakh issue was discussed.

He said that the United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Nagorno-Karabakh, which is populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Since 1994, it has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces that Baku says include troops supplied by Armenia.

The region's claim to independence has not been recognized by any country.

Internationally mediated negotiations involving the OSCE's so-called Minsk Group helped forge a cease-fire in the region which is not always honored.

However, the negotiations have failed to produce a lasting settlement of the conflict so far.