The United States joins the EU in noting the recent granting of access — for the first time in three years — to Freedom Square for opposition rallies. We hope that Armenia’s authorities will continue to allow all elements of Armenian society, irrespective of their political viewpoints, to freely hold peaceful assemblies in Freedom Square or other requested venues.
We also welcome the recent additional early releases of individuals detained following the post-election protests and violence of March 1, 2008, and urge Armenia’s authorities to release all of the remaining detainees as soon as possible. We are pleased by President Sargsian’s instruction to Armenian law enforcement bodies on April 20 to investigate more fully the circumstances of the March 2008 events. Identifying and holding accountable those responsible for the ten deaths will help Armenia move past the tragic events of 2008.
The United States strongly values its relationship with Armenia and stands ready to work with the government and people of Armenia to assist the country in advancing its democratic development.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.