WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) on Saturday sharply criticized a statement issued by Presidents Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Demitry Medvedev regarding the Nagorno Karabagh negotiations, characterizing it as “just more of their same old, tired calls for capitulation by the people of Nagorno Karabagh Republic.” The joint statement was issued as the presidents participated in the G8 summit, held in Toronto, Canada this weekend.
“Presidents Obama, Sarkozy and Medvedev’s statement regarding the Nagorno Karabagh peace process should have been a forceful condemnation of Azerbaijan’s June 18th attack on Mardarkert,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Instead it was just more of their same old, tired calls for capitulation by the people of Nagorno Karabagh Republic. Their joint statement presents, once again, the one-sided formula in which Karabagh is pressed to make up-front, highly dangerous, and irrevocable security concessions in return for a vague and unenforceable promise that its status may be determined by an undefined process, by undetermined actors, at some unidentified point in the future. The statement is made all the more offensive given their patently false and counter-productive charges regarding the occupation of territory,” concluded Hamparian.
A July 10, 2009, statement issued by the three Presidents was nearly identical to the one issued yesterday, with a notable difference being the new accusation of occupation of territories. The 2009 statement is available here.
Earlier last week, the ANCA was joined by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) expressed concern about recent Azerbaijani attacks against Nagorno Karabagh defense forces, leading to five deaths, and called for the halt of military assistance to the Azerbaijan.
Rep. Kirk, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, stated:
“I condemn the unprovoked attacks by Azerbaijan’s armed forces on NKR troops and deeply regret the loss of life that occurred. I am concerned that such destabilizing actions by the Azeri side, combined with Azerbaijan’s military build-up and provocative statements by Azerbaijan’s leadership, gravely undermine the OSCE-led Minsk Process. This irresponsible behavior reiterates the need to restrict U.S. military funding for Azerbaijan, and for the Administration to consult with Congress before exercising the waiver authority granted under Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.”
The Foreign Operations Subcommittee is set to review the 2011 Foreign Aid bill on Wednesday, June 30th.
Rep. Pallone, for his part, condemned the attacks “in the strongest terms.” Azerbaijan’s “attempt to penetrate the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh defenses was an unacceptable provocation and an attempt to precipitate further conflict.” The US congressman said he continued to “call on the U.S. government to reinstate Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act and restrict all further military assistance to Azerbaijan.”
We can not stand complacent as Azerbaijan makes good on their aggressive statements and engages in violent attacks,” Pallone added.
Below is the text of the June 26th statement by Presidents Obama, Sarkozy and Medvedev:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2010
G8 Summit: Joint Statement On The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict by Dmitry Medvedev, President Of The Russian Federation, Barack Obama, President Of The United States Of America,
and Nicolas Sarkozy, President Of The French Republic
Muskoka, 26 June 2010
We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chair countries, France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America, reaffirm our commitment to support the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they finalize the Basic Principles for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
We welcome as a significant step the recognition by both sides that a lasting settlement must be based upon the Helsinki Principles and the elements that we proposed in connection with our statement at the L’Aquila Summit of the Eight on July 10, 2009, relating to: the return of the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh guaranteeing security and self-governance, a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh; final status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be determined in the future by a legally-binding expression of will, the right of all internally-displaced persons and refugees to return, and international security guarantees, including a peacekeeping operation.
Now the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan need to take the next step and complete the work on the Basic Principles to enable the drafting of a peace agreement to begin. We instruct our Ministers and Co-Chairs to work intensively to assist the two sides to overcome their differences in preparation for a joint meeting in Almaty on the margins of OSCE Informal Ministerial.