Incendiary Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Jones Undermine the Karabagh Peace Process
WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) condemned highly incendiary statemen’s by US Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones referring to Mountainous Karabagh’s leaders as "criminal secessionists" and calling for their removal from power. The statement came as part of a January 13 digital video-conference with journalists in US Embassies in Moscow–Rome–and Bratislava.
"Assistant Secretary Jones’s commen’s seriously weaken the foundation of our role–as Americans–as impartial mediators of the Mountainous Karabagh conflict," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. "Her remarks unfairly attack the right of the people of Mountainous Karabagh to express themselves democratically through elections. They also prejudice the outcome of the OSCE negotiations–materially compromising the search for peace–and–very significantly–embolden the growing chorus in the Azerbaijan government that is calling for renewed aggression against Mountainous Karabagh."
Expressing the Armenian American community’s shock and outrage at Assistant Secretary Jones’ remarks–the ANCA condemned her statemen’s "as counter to the long-standing US policy of helping the parties reach a negotiated settlement." The ANCA also called on the Administration to begin repairing this damage by immediately and clearly renouncing the unfair and inaccurate remarks.
During the video conference–Jones–in discussing US bi-lateral relations with Russia–called for increased engagement in resolving regional conflicts in the former Soviet Union–stating:
"It is in Russia’s interest for these areas–for Transnistria–Abkhazia–South Ossetia–Mountainous Karabagh–to be stable–for corruption to end there–for the criminal secessionists who rule there to be removed. It is not appropriate for this kind of instability and criminality to exist right in the middle of Europe."
When asked to clarify her reference to "criminal secessionists" in the region–Jones stated: "The areas that are right around Russia’s borders where there are–as I said–secessionists who are criminals seem to us to undercut Russia’s security by allowing and not really addressing in a concrete way the fact that there are two secessionist areas remaining in Georgia and one in Moldova. There are still outstanding questions with Mountainous Karabagh. Russia can play a very positive leadership role in addressing these questions. It cannot be in Russia’s interest to allow this kind of criminal activity to take place so close to its borders. This is where there can be a breeding ground for terrorists. That is not in Russia’s interests. It is not in Russia’s interest–or in the interests of the United States or Europe for these areas to be free for weapons transportation–for narcotics transportation and trafficking."
The complete transcript from the video conference may be obtained on the US Embassy-Moscow–Russia website: www.moscow.usembassy.gov/embassy/transcript.php?record_id=99