ArmInfo.Now Armenia is a different country than it was 3.5 years ago. The US ambassador to RA Richard Mills stated this in an interview with evnreport.com.
He stated that he was very encouraged by the latest changes in Armenia. "But I am also sure that the country will have a difficult path, and nevertheless, it is on the right path," the diplomat said.
At the same time, he expressed some concern that even constructive criticism at the moment can be viewed as a step against the latest processes. "I think that Pashinyan himself should stimulate public discourse," the ambassador said.
Touching upon the Armenian-American relations, the ambassador noted that the United States regards Armenia as a friendly country in the region. "Realizing the special character of Armenian-Russian relations, which have historical roots, we do not exert pressure on Armenia in this matter. We just want to be sure that Armenia continues to maintain its sovereignty and make its own decisions," he explained.
According to him, the US is particularly interested in ensuring Armenia's energy independence through the development of hydropower. "In this case, it can sell electricity to Georgia, thereby, earning from this income," said Mills.
Referring to the Karabakh settlement, he noted that the issue of returning to the "occupied territories" is one of the fundamental points of the Madrid principles: "I was surprised to come here, and realizing that society is not ready for this." According to the ambassador, after the April war, the issue of the return of territories for the Armenian society has become even more complicated.
At the same time, he stressed that the status quo no longer proceeds from the interests of Armenia, since in the context of closed borders and limited human and material resources, corruption risks increase. "Corruption is not born and thrives, because people are bad, but because of the appropriate conditions for this," the diplomat said.
Speaking about the Armenian-Iranian relations, he stressed that the United States is aware that in the context of the closed borders of Iran, in certain cases, as, for example, during the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, it was the only way connecting Armenia with the outside world. "Therefore, we do not insist on reconsidering relations with Iran, but at the same time we expect Armenia, as our partner, to have a" special "manifestation. We believe that Iran encourages world terrorism, and we expect that Armenia, I understand that it can be difficult, but we expect it, "explained Mills, adding that even now, when sanctions against Iran have tightened, Washington does not insist on revising the economic relations between Yerevan and Tehran:" We only warned Armenian businessmen be more vigilant, h These sanctions did not affect them. "
Referring to bilateral economic ties, the ambassador noted that the United States had already increased its financial assistance to Armenia by $ 14 million. In 2018, $ 26 million will be provided to the country.