On the eve of next week’s meeting in Washington, DC of Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers regarding Artsakh status and security issues, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to lift “arbitrary, outdated, and counter-productive restrictions” on travel and communication between the United States and the Republic of Artsakh. The ANCA’s request is consistent with the legislative aims of H.Res.190, a bipartisan resolution seeking the removal of these prohibitions and the full return of Artsakh to any and all negotiations regarding its future.
The ANCA letter, forwarded to the Department of State, stressed that: “Azerbaijan’s attempts to limit U.S.-Artsakh dialogue, much like its reckless efforts to exclude Artsakh from full participation in OSCE negotiations, are clearly intended to serve the Aliyev regime’s domestic political purposes, but, just as clearly, hinder U.S. diplomacy, and hold back the progress we would all like to see toward a durable and democratic peace between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.”
The letter also recalls that: “Artsakh signed the 1994 Bishkek Protocol, the cease-fire agreement that has, despite breaches by Baku, remained in place for a quarter century,” concluding that: “Artsakh must be a full stakeholder in any and all discussions regarding its future.”
"The mutual understanding that comes from direct engagement among all stakeholders represents our best hope for peace. It is time, consistent with the bipartisan priorities set forth in H.Res.190, to give American diplomacy a chance by removing these artificial and outdated barriers," ANCA said.
The bipartisan U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution (H.Res.190), introduced in March by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), currently has 20 cosponsors.
In a colloquy with House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) earlier this week, Rep. Pallone stated, “We must remain committed to strengthening the ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh, removing barriers to dialogue, and resolving status and security issues that have hindered discussions in the past. […] Allowing direct and open dialogue and allowing our diplomats to have a presence on the ground as necessary and when safe is the only way for the United States to help bring this conflict to a resolution.” Chairwoman Lowey committed to work with Congressman Pallone on this matter.