Armenian Assembly Statement on Nagorno Karabagh Developments

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[Editor’s Note: The Armenian Assembly of America issued the following statement in regard to the Nagorno Karabagh peace process.]

On the occasion of the July 17-18 meetings of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow, in regard to the Nagorno Karabagh peace process, under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group (OSCE), the Assembly reiterates its long-standing position that any resolution must be acceptable to the people of both Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.

The meetings follow the joint declaration by the presidents of the United States, France and Russia on July 10, at the recent Group of Eight conference in Italy, in which the presidents instructed the “mediators to present to the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan an updated version of the Madrid Document of November 2007, the co-chairs’ last articulation of the Basic Principles,” and urged the parties to “resolve the few remaining differences …”

The issues are complex and will require time to reach a solution that is acceptable to all parties, and most specifically to the citizens of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic. Throughout the ongoing negotiation process, and again on July 16, the Armenian government has stated that no agreement can be reached without the concurrence of the government and citizens of Nagorno Karabagh. We fully endorse that policy and urge the Minsk Group co-chairs to ensure that the government of Nagorno Karabagh joins the negotiation process as soon as possible. We note that the OSCE co-chairs have repeatedly, and as recently as July 8, called for the inclusion of Nagorno Karabagh.

We urge the United States, in particular, to ensure the fulfillment of President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge “to work for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination.” The Assembly also recalls the leadership of the United States Senate and the passage of S.J. Res. 178 in 1989, which expressed US support for “the fundamental rights and the aspirations of the people of Nagorno Karabagh.”

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Moreover, the Assembly strongly supports the fundamental rights of the people of Nagorno Karabagh, and its independence from foreign rule and oppression. To that end, we support the efforts of the governments of Nagorno Karabagh and Armenia.

For more than two decades the Assembly has committed its resources to the pursuit of the just cause of the Armenian people of Nagorno Karabagh. We have played an instrumental role in Congress, from the Senate adoption of S.J. Res. 178, to the enactment of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which prohibits US assistance to Azerbaijan until its dual blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh are lifted. We will continue to strongly support maximum assistance and aid to Nagorno Karabagh to further promote its democratic development and overcome the consequences of Azerbaijan’s aggression.

Therefore, we call upon the presidents of the United States, France and Russia, whose nations collectively serve as the OSCE’s Minsk Group co-chairs, to denounce Azerbaijan’s ongoing war rhetoric and its threats for a resumption of military action. A new war will not only undermine the peace process, but will also lead to the destabilization of the South Caucasus.

The Assembly stands united with all Armenians to protect the freedom and security of the Nagorno Karabagh people in the face of these most serious external threats. The suffering endured and the sacrifices made by Armenians since the Armenian Genocide deserves nothing less.