US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, US Senator Mike Lee Join Supervisor Barger and Local Armenian Leaders to Discuss US Efforts to Broker Artsakh Ceasefire

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Supervisor Kathryn Barger convened a roundtable discussion with National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, United States Senator Mike Lee and leaders from the Armenian community on October 30 to discuss the current crisis in Artsakh and U.S. efforts to broker a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“We are deeply troubled by Azerbaijan’s refusal to honor three separate ceasefire agreements in recent weeks and the continued campaign to spread misinformation to deflect their egregious actions,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “I am grateful to National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and United States Senator Mike Lee for engaging with our grassroots organizations and faith leaders who have done a tremendous job raising awareness on this pressing issue for the Armenian community.”

“The United States is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence between Azerbaijan and Artsakh, especially in light of reports of strikes in areas of significant civilian populations,” said National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. “The President has called on both sides to fully observe their obligations under international humanitarian laws including the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Both sides must agree to a ceasefire and they must come to the negotiating table without preconditions. This is particularly true of the Azerbaijanis who have been the most hesitant about an unconditional ceasefire to date.”

Armenian community leaders at the roundtable discussion included: Nora Hovsepian and Levon Kirakosian, Armenian National Committee of America; Michelle Kezirian, Armenian Assembly of America; Talin Yacoubian, Armenian General Benevolent Union; and Maria Mehranian, Armenia Fund USA. Faith representatives included: Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Western Diocese; Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Western Prelacy; Most Reverent Mikael Mouradian, Armenian Catholic Eparchy; and Reverend Berdj Djambazian, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America.

The focus of the dialogue centered on the unprovoked military operations by Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region against Armenians in the area. This ongoing military offense has included attacks on civilian and residential structures, which killed approximately 40 innocent civilians including children and older adults and wounded more than 125 people, according to the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh.

Los Angeles County is home to the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia. For years, the County has supported the Armenian community through continued advocacy for their rights and increased awareness of their history.

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To access the video footage of the remarks during the event, click here.

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O’Brien most notably declared in his remarks that any Turkish mediation or peacekeeping role was not acceptable to the United States, and in general armed peacekeepers should not be from the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs or neighboring countries. Instead, he said the US was working with Scandinavian countries to put together a peacekeeping force that could maintain a ceasefire.

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