WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today expressed the Armenian American community’s disappointment over the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ weak statement on the recent attack by Azerbaijani forces on Nagorno Karabagh, noting that its “generic” response effectively gave Baku a “free pass” to keep moving toward war.
“The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, in choosing to issue a generic condemnation of violence instead of a direct criticism of Azerbaijan’s most recent attack–as was clearly warranted by the facts of this case–gave Ilham Aliyev yet another free pass to keep moving toward the renewed war that he has long promised to start against Nagorno Karabagh,” said ANCA executive director Aram Hamparian. “The OSCE, for its part, needs to forcefully condemn Baku’s belligerence and pressure it’s leaders to stop using force, while the U.S. government must immediately cut off all military assistance to Azerbaijan.”
In statement issued earlier today, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) concurred, stating: “The fact that these attacks were unprovoked and came just hours after a meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan with Russian President Medvedev as part of ongoing efforts to bring the conflict to a final peace settlement, makes the attacks that much more egregious. I continue to call on the U.S. government to reinstate Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act and restrict all further military assistance to Azerbaijan. We can not stand complacent as Azerbaijan makes good on their aggressive statements and engages in violent attacks.”
Below is the text of the OSCE statement:
According to reports of the Ministries of Defense of Armenia and Azerbaijan, an armed incident took place during the night of June 18-19, 2010, in the northern part of the Line of Contact, resulting in casualties.
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Robert Bradtke of the United States of America, and Igor Popov of the Russian Federation strongly condemn the use of force and regret the senseless loss of life. Such an incident is an unacceptable violation of the 1994 Ceasefire Agreement and is contrary to the stated commitment of the sides to refrain from the use of force or the threat of the use of force.
The incident took place immediately after the meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, held in St. Petersburg on June 17 at the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation to pursue the negotiation of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The use of military force, particularly at this moment, can only be seen as an attempt to damage the peace process.
Therefore the Co-Chairs call upon the sides to exercise restraint on the terrain as well as in their public communications and prepare their population for peace and not for war. They reiterate that there is no alternative to a peaceful negotiation solution of the conflict and that war is not an option.
Finally they also call upon the sides to cooperate fully with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office and do nothing that would impede his monitoring activities.