STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–"We can’t disregard the decision taken by the people of Nagorno-Karabakh as to its status," Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island–said at a news conference in Stepanakert Thursday.
He said it was only the nation that had the right to determine its own fate–stressing that the United States would not exert any pressure on the parties to the conflict. He also stressed that it was only by common consent that a peace agreement could be reached.
The senator said he considered peace in the region to be much more important than momentary economic interests and that those interests should by no means be viewed as a dominating idea in determining US policies in the Transcaucasus.
Reed did not rule out the possibility of strategic partnership between the United States and Armenia–saying that such cooperation–in its turn–would not eliminate the currently existing agreement between Armenia and other countries.
Jack Reed visited the town of Shushi–Karabakh military units and a children’s hospital. According to Reed–a graduate of the US Military Academy–Karabakh’s army is impressive and disciplined.
The senator opined that Nagorno-Karabakh should be rendered humanitarian relief and vowed on his part to lobby that matter in Congress.
He also said he considered it necessary to retain Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act as Azerbaijan had not lifted the blockade of Armenia and Karabakh.