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Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, attaches major importance to improvement of business climate in the South Caucasus.

Speaking during the “South Caucasus 20 Years After Independence” conference, he said that the most important in that regard is efforts to combat corruption are critical to attracting direct foreign investment.

“I think in all three countries the question of obstructed trade flows, which depends I think in part on resolution of some of the political differences, is also an important part of the picture. And this is a particular challenge for Armenia.

It’s one of the reasons we’ve pushed so hard to help get relations normalized with Turkey. But I think for all three countries you still have obstructed trade flows, obstructed trade corridors, and this has a real – really negative effect on economic growth,” he said.

He considers now it’s very clear that the three states are part of Europe. “The future of these countries is intertwined with that of Europe as a whole, that our entire trans-Atlantic effort very much includes them, and our perspective on European-American relations,” he added.

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