YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Arkady Ghoukassian–the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–flew on Thursday to the United States on an unofficial visit aimed at presenting Stepanakert’s position on how to end the long conflict with Azerbaijan–officials said. Ghoukassian is due to meet with officials in the US State Department as well as congressmen and senators–according to his press service.
"The Karabakh president believes that the visit is first of all an opportunity to once again present Karabakh’s position on the conflict’s resolution," an official press release said. Meetings are also scheduled with representatives of the large Armenian-American community–the main organizer of the trip.
Efforts by influential Armenian lobbying groups in Washington led the US Congress to impose serious restrictions on direct American aid to Azerbaijan . The sanctions known as Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act have remained in place despite a strong opposition from the Clinton administration. The US is one of the three co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–which leads international efforts to negotiate a peace deal on Karabakh.