YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The United States called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to avoid ceasefire violations as it announced the appointment of its new chief negotiator in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process on Friday.
The US Embassy in Yerevan said that Richard Hoagland will replace another career diplomat, James Warlick, as US co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, next month “on an interim basis.” “The permanent replacement for Ambassador Warlick will be announced at a future date,” it said in a statement.
Warlick, who has held that position for the past three years, said last month that he will resign at the end of December to work for a Russian law firm in Washington.
Hoagland most recently led a US-Russian task force on the conflict in Syria and served as a deputy assistant secretary of state. He was America’s ambassador to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in the 2000s.
In 2007, Hoagland was named by the administration of then-President George W. Bush to serve as US ambassador to Armenia. A pro-Armenian US senator, Robert Menendez, blocked congressional confirmation of the nomination after Hoagland declined to publicly describe the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey as genocide.
“Ambassador Hoagland’s extensive diplomatic experience will be critical as the United States works with the sides toward a lasting and peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” read the embassy statement.