WASHINGTON—On the eve of next week’s meeting in Washington of Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers regarding Artsakh status and security issues, the Armenian National Committee of Americacalled on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to lift “arbitrary, outdated, and counter-productive restrictions” on travel and communication between the United States and the Republic of Artsakh. The ANCA’s request is consistent with the legislative aims of H.Res.190, a bipartisan resolution seeking the removal of these prohibitions and the full return of Artsakh to any and all negotiations regarding its future.
The ANCA letter, forwarded this morning to the Department of State, stressed that: “Azerbaijan’s attempts to limit U.S.-Artsakh dialogue, much like its reckless efforts to exclude Artsakh from full participation in OSCE negotiations, are clearly intended to serve the Aliyev regime’s domestic political purposes, but, just as clearly, hinder U.S. diplomacy, and hold back the progress we would all like to see toward a durable and democratic peace between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.” The letter also recalled that: “Artsakh signed the 1994 Bishkek Protocol, the cease-fire agreement that has, despite breaches by Baku, remained in place for a quarter century,” concluding that: “Artsakh must be a full stakeholder in any and all discussions regarding its future.”
The full text of the ANCA letter is provided below.
The bipartisan U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution (H.Res.190), introduced in March by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), currently has 20 cosponsors including Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Peter King (R-NY), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Peter Visclosky (D-IN).
In a colloquy with House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) earlier this week, Rep. Pallone stated, “We must remain committed to strengthening the ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh, removing barriers to dialogue, and resolving status and security issues that have hindered discussions in the past. […] Allowing direct and open dialogue and allowing our diplomats to have a presence on the ground as necessary and when safe is the only way for the United States to help bring this conflict to a resolution.” Chairwoman Lowey committed to work with Congressman Pallone on this matter.
The ANCA has launched a grassroots letter campaign to Secretary Pompeo and U.S. Representatives calling for swift action to lift barriers to U.S.-Artsakh dialogue. Thousands of letters have already been sent through the ANCA’s March to Justice Rapid Responder portal. To take action in support of this ANCA initiative, visit anca.org/USArtsakh.
ANCA Letter to Secretary of State Pompeo
June 14, 2019
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Pompeo:
We are writing in connection with this morning’s announcement of a meeting in Washington, DC of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation’s Minsk Group Co-Chairs. This meeting represents a timely and relevant opportunity to announce that the Trump Administration is lifting arbitrary, outdated, and counter-productive restrictions, put in place by the Clinton Administration under pressure from Baku, restricting travel and communication between the U.S. and the Republic of Artsakh.
Azerbaijan’s attempts to limit U.S.-Artsakh dialogue, much like its reckless efforts to exclude Artsakh from full participation in OSCE negotiations, are clearly intended to serve the Aliyev regime’s domestic political purposes, but, just as clearly, hinder U.S. diplomacy, and hold back the progress we would all like to see toward a durable and democratic peace between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. It is worth recalling in this regard that Artsakh signed the 1994 Bishkek Protocol, the cease-fire agreement that has, despite breaches by Baku, remained in place for a quarter century. Artsakh must be a full stakeholder in any and all discussions regarding its future.
The mutual understanding that comes from direct engagement among all stakeholders represents our best hope for peace. It is time, consistent with the bipartisan priorities set forth in H.Res.190, to give American diplomacy a chance by removing these artificial and outdated barriers.
Thank you for your consideration of our request. We remain ready to meet with you and your team to discuss this matter in greater detail.