U.S. Negotiator Amb. Warlick Backs Bipartisan Congressional Calls to Withdraw Snipers, Add Observers, Deploy Gunfire Locators
WASHINGTON, DC – Ambassador James Warlick, the lead U.S. negotiator in the Nagorno Karabakh peace process, has voiced the Obama Administration’s support for common-sense measures, advanced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and a growing number of their Congressional colleagues, to stop increased cease-fire violations along the Karabakh line of contact.
In a statement issued to H1 Television’s Haykaram Nahapetyan, Ambassador Warlick explained, “We fully support the initiatives proposed by Congressman Royce and Congressman Engel. Confidence building measures and people-to-people programs reduce tensions and lay the basis for a lasting peace. We have raised each of these initiatives with the parties and will continue to pursue all steps that can lead to a negotiated settlement,” concluded Warlick.
“We are pleased to see the Obama Administration joining with key Congressional leaders from both parties in supporting common-sense peacekeeping proposals for Nagorno Karabakh,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “These U.S.-backed life-saving initiatives have long been endorsed by both Artsakh and Armenia, but – at the cost of lives on both sides – rejected by the increasingly aggressive and isolated Azerbaijani regime of Ilham Aliyev.”
Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel are currently collecting Congressional signatures on a letter addressed to Ambassador Warlick – the U.S. representative to the OSCE’s Minsk Group tasked with reaching a resolution of Nagorno Karabakh-related security and status issues – specifically calling for the U.S. and OSCE to abandon their failed policy of false parity in responding to acts of aggression, noting that: “The longstanding U.S. and OSCE practice of responding to each new attack with generic calls upon all parties to refrain from violence has failed to de-escalate the situation. Instead, this policy of artificial evenhandedness has dangerously increased tensions. There will be no peace absent responsibility.”
The letter outlines three concrete pro-peace steps that would, “in the short-term, save lives and help to avert war. Over the longer term,” the letter notes, “these steps could contribute to a comprehensive and enduring peace for all the citizens of the region:”
— An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers along the line of contact.
— The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.
— The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.
Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh have both expressed support for these life-saving initiatives; Azerbaijan has not.
ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, Executive Director Aram Hamparian, Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian and the ANCA Eastern Region’s Armen Sahakyan met with Ambassador Warlick last week, in the immediate aftermath of the latest fatal Azerbaijani attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, expressing concern about the OSCE negotiators’ reluctance to clearly and unequivocally condemn Azerbaijan’s fatal ceasefire violations.
To that end, the ANCA has worked closely with House leaders to secure broad, bi-partisan support for the Royce-Engel letter and rallied constituent letters and calls through the ANCA’s “March to Justice” activism portal. To take action, visit http://www.marchtojustice.org/nkpeace.