YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—US Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch, on Wednesday, called Azeri threats to shoot down civilian planes “absolutely unacceptable.”
“Such threats are absolutely unacceptable. They do not derive from the principles, which Azerbaijan should be committed to in the negotiation process. We take all principles of settlement seriously, but the principle of non-use of force is the most important,” said Yovanovitch when speaking to journalists.
“As a member of NATO, we consider that the OSCE is the structure where negotiations on the Karabakh conflict settlement are held,” added Yovanovitch said, when asked how NATO will react if the developments at the line of contact become more dangerous.
As a Minsk Group Co-Chair country the United States works in cooperation with Russia and France to make it clear to the parties to the conflict that political negotiations are the only way for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, said the US Ambassador.
Yovanovitch also welcomed the strengthening of NATO-Armenia relations, underscoring that Armenia has been participating in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program since 2004. Armenian peacekeepers help maintain peace and stability in Kosovo, participated in the peacekeeping mission in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan.
She recalled that last fall, the “Armenia 2010” field exercises allowed NATO and partner countries to practice disaster response mechanisms and capabilities and to enhance co-operation in emergency situations. It brought together representatives of 30 member-states and NATO partners. The Ambassador stressed the importance of such events in the context of recent tragic events in Japan.
Yovanovitch also responded to questions about Armenia’s domestic issues, saying that the US cannot interfere in internal political processes in the country, but hailed a recent government announcement of amnesty for opposition supporters.
She emphasized that the US supports principles rather than political figures.
Late last month, Yovanovitch, speaking at Yerevan State University and later in an interview with RFE/RL, urged the government to hold free elections and embark on what she called “deep and difficult” reforms. These comments were viewed by government circles as meddling in Armenia’s domestic matters.
She also issued the customary reiteration of the US call for Armenia and Turkey to normalize relations and sign the now-frozen Turkey-Armenia protocols.