The OSCE’s False Parity: Far from ‘Excellent’


In a recent exclusive interview with RFE/RL Armenian service’s Sargis Harutyunyan, Co-Chairman of Armenian Assembly of America Anthony Barsamian spoke about United States-Armenian relations under President-elect Trump’s administration.

During the interview, Harutyunyan asks Barsamian if the U.S. will lose interest in the mediation process of the Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh/NKR) conflict because of a more isolated foreign policy under a Trump administration, to which Barsamian answers that he believes the opposite is true.

In his answer, Barsamian brings up the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) latest statement, which he calls “excellent.” Barsamian points to the part of the statement, which he says brought up “the atrocities, as are related to April,” and that the Minsk Group has “basically come very heavily on the side of Armenia, in terms of seeing that Azerbaijan were the aggressors and committed war crimes.”

A statement calling for the 'return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabagh to Azerbaijani control,' is troubling. (Photo: ANCA)
A statement calling for the ‘return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabagh to Azerbaijani control,’ is troubling. (Photo: ANCA)

If Barsamian was referring to the Dec. 8 joint-statement by the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries reinstating their commitment “to a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict,” then I beg to differ.

“Excellent” is not the first adjective I would use to describe that statement.

I’d go for another word: “troubling.”

A statement calling for the “return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabagh to Azerbaijani control,” is troubling.

A statement chock-full of false parity, expressing “concern over continuing armed incidents” and “strongly” condemning “the use of force or the threat of the use of force,” without naming an aggressor, is troubling.

A statement that urges both parties to “remove all remaining obstacles to expanding the mission of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and to make progress on a proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism,” when it is in fact only one party—Azerbaijan—that consistently impedes processes for peace and security in the region, is troubling.

James Warlick in Yerevan (Photo: United States Department of State)
James Warlick in Yerevan (Photo: United States Department of State)

On Nov. 21, Ambassador James Warlick announced his plans to resign as U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group at the end of the year to join a Russian law firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev and Partners. The State Department has not yet announced who will replace him.

Yes, President-elect Donald Trump’s transition has created a real sense of uncertainty for Armenian-Americans and U.S.-Armenia relations.

But one thing is clear. American-Armenians must be vocal about Warlick’s replacement.

And they must demand better.

They must also be sure to call a spade a spade: the OSCE’s latest statement was not excellent—far from it, in fact.



Rupen Janbazian

Rupen Janbazian is the former editor of The Armenian Weekly. His writings primarily focus on politics, human rights, community, literature, and Armenian culture. He has reported from Armenia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh), Turkey, Canada, the United States, and Western Armenia. He has served on the local and national executives of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Canada and Hamazkayin Toronto, and served as the administrator of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Toronto. Janbazian also taught Armenian History and Creative Writing at the ARS Armenian Private School of Toronto, and has worked on several translations.

Latest posts by Rupen Janbazian (see all)


  1. All Armenians should stand united on this basic issue: the present territorial status quo cannot be negotiable; any concession will inevitably lead to the loss of Artsakh, in its entirety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.