A delegation of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, Western Region of the U.S. headed by Chairman Vasken Khodanian along with SDHP Central Committee member Harry Sarafian, met with U.S. Ambassador John A. Heffern. During the hour-long meeting, wide ranging topics were discussed, with primary emphasis being placed on the current state of affairs in the Republic of Armenia.
The SDHP delegation voiced its concern with the inadequacy of the political reforms in Armenia and the lack of economic equity in the country. The delegation stressed that only systematic change and a paradigm shift in the current political culture will bring about real change in the areas of fair and just governance, social and economic justice, preeminence of the rule of law. In that respect, the delegation urged the U.S. to continue to stress upon the Armenian authorities the need to establish an environment that is conducive to social, political and economic progress.
The Ambassador assured the SDHP delegation members, that the United States is consistent with its policy toward the establishment of democratic principles in Armenia and has created partnerships with governmental and non-governmental entities to promote those values and principles.
On the issue of the Nagorno Karabakh peace process, the delegation pointed to the deplorable act of the Azeri leadership in pardoning of a convicted murderer and the hostile rhetoric and actions against the Republics of Armenia and Karabagh as major reasons for the lack of progress in the negotiation process.
In regards to the Armenia-Turkey relations, the Ambassador agreed with the delegation on the need for the Turkish government to reopen its border with Armenia without any preconditions.
Among other issues, the delegation informed the Ambassador of its grave concern regarding the safety and security of ethnic Armenians and other minorities in Syria as the conflict seems to be swirling out of control. The Ambassador assured the delegation that the US State Department is well aware of the dangers and is keeping a watchful eye on the matter.