WASHINGTON (A.W.)—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has blasted the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group interim U.S. Co-Chair Ambassador Richard Hoagland’s recommendations for the Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh) peace process, calling them “totally unacceptable” and a “non-starter.”
Hoagland held an on-the-record round table discussion regarding the peace settlement at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 23. During the discussion, the Ambassador presented his six main points—adapted from the Madrid Principles—for the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict settlement, according to Voice of America’s (VOA) Armenian service. (See text below.)
The six points included a call for the “occupied territories” surrounding Nagorno-Karabagh to be returned to Azerbaijani control.
“There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored,” Hoagland said, according to VOA.
“This is a long-term policy, it’s not connected with this or that co-chair, this is our general policy. Of course, the proposed project is more detailed and extensive, but this is the basis of any reasonable solution, and all parties agree on this issue,” Hoagland added.
“The Administration is tossing out another reckless recipe for Artsakh’s destruction, expecting, it seems, that we don’t understand Armenian history, that we lack 100% solidarity with Artsakh, and that we have no sense at all of our geo-political interests. In a word, that we are idiots. Totally unacceptable. A non-starter,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA in his comments to the Armenian Weekly.
Hamparian went on to say that the “light rewrite” of the unbalanced Madrid Principles heavily rewards an “increasingly aggressive Azerbaijan” and puts all the risks on the Republic of Artsakh.
During the round table, Hoagland announced that beginning Aug. 28 the new OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-Chair will be Andrew J. Schofer, who, until recently, served as U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and other international organizations in Vienna.
“Sadly, rather than empowering incoming OSCE Europe Minsk Group U.S. Co-Chair Andrew Schofer, the Administration has handicapped him from the start with a fatally flawed framework, one that runs counter to our American values and undermines our national interest in a durable and democratic peace,” Hamparian added in comments made on ANCA’s official Facebook page.
Hamparian offered an in-depth overview of the flawed Madrid principles in a Facebook Live video, outlining concerns regarding each of the six points:
Text of Ambassador Hoagland’s Six Elements Needed for an Enduring Agreement for Nagorno-Karabagh (via VOA Armenian Service)
– In light of Nagorno-Karabagh’s complex history, the sides should commit to determining its final legal status through a mutually agreed and legally binding expression of will in the future. Interim status will be temporary.
– The area within the boundaries of the former Nagorno-Karabagh Autonomous Region that is not controlled by Baku should be granted an interim status that, at a minimum, provides guarantees for security and self-governance.
– The occupied territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabagh should be returned to Azerbaijani control. There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored.
– There should be a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabagh. It must be wide enough to provide secure passage, but it cannot encompass the whole of Lachin district.
– An enduring settlement will have to recognize the right of all IDPs and refugees to return to their former places of residence.
– A settlement must include international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. There is no scenario in which peace can be assured without a well-designed peacekeeping operation that enjoys the confidence of all sides.
The time has come for the sides to commit themselves to peace negotiations, building on the foundation of work done so far.