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United States opens its largest diplomatic mission in the world inArmenia

The NewsAhead Agency for future world news | Tuesday, 22 March 2005
30 Mar 2005**.

YEREVAN. 30 Mar 2005** (Estimated date) The new United States embassy
plans to open the largest US diplomatic in the world in Armenia,
a demonstration of Washington's growing strategic interest in the
largely Christian country and in the Caucusus in general.

The Caucasus Region is important to world energy markets as a transit
area for oil and natural gas exports from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

US officials explain that the reason for building such as large embassy
is the number of US projects in Armenia, but most see the ambitious
building as matching Washington's big goals in the region. These
include securing oil supplies from the Caspian and augmenting the US
military toehold on the Western shore to project US influence across
the entire region.

The United States has provided more some US $1.5 billion in economic
assistance to Armenia since independence. Yerevan dispatched 46
Armenian non-combat servicemen to the US led coalition in Iraq on Jan
18. The symbolic presence, despite overwhelming domestic opposition,
has been interpreted as Armenia's thanks for US largesse. Others
explain the troop deployment as a geopolitical necessity - a means of
keeping US neutral in Armenia's long-running dispute with Azerbaijan
over Nagorno-Karabakh, a former part of Soviet Azerbaijan that is
now controlled by ethnic Armenians.

The new US embassy compound, built of native stone, overlooks scenic
Lake Yerevan and has a sweeping view of Mount Ararat, neighboring
Turkey's tallest peak and the rumored resting place of Noah's
Ark. Sophisticated security measures have been installed to protect
the complex from potential physical, biological and technological
assaults. The embassy will also have its own energy and water supply.

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