Commenting on the telephone call from U.S. Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence to Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Armenian Service, RSC Director Richard Giragosian explained that unlike the usual protocol of conversations between the U.S. presidents and heads of state, such as those between President-Elect Donald Trump and the presidents of Azerbaijan and Ukraine among others, the fact that the incoming U.S. Vice President called the Armenian president was a “breach of protocol that represents an unusual situation.” However, Giragosian downplayed the significance of that breach, saying that it “does not reflect any diplomatic insult.” Rather, he interpreted the call from Pence as a way to repair the damage from recent calls from Trump to other world leaders that were largely criticized, most notably including the Trump conversation with the Pakistani premier. Giragosian concluded by stressing that “therefore, I think that Washington apparently decided to place the call to the Armenian president and rely on the professional and experienced Vice President instead, which is probably better for Armenia.”

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