ArmInfo.The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) held talks with senior officials of the State Department regarding sustainable paths to a lasting and democratic peace between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. According to the ANCA, Cheryl Fernandez, director of the Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflict Department, and Andrew Schaufer, co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group from the United States, participated in the talks. On behalf of ANCA, the head of the structure Raffi Hambaryan and the Director of Government Affairs of ANCA Teresa Yrimyan participated in the negotiations.
"ANCA appreciates our many years of dialogue with the State Department on a wide range of issues and welcomes this opportunity to discuss the most constructive opportunities for the United States aimed at promoting peace, progress and prosperity for citizens of Artsakh and neighboring states," ANCA Chairman Raffi Hambarian said after the meeting. According to him, the United States and its OSCE partners, recognizing that progress at the peace negotiating table requires local stability, should provide stronger leadership in countering Azerbaijani incitement and aggression. It is necessary to find ways to counter Baku's irresponsible opposition to the implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals. In addition, Ambaryan continued, the United States should help resume the stalled peace process by replacing the clearly untenable Madrid principles with a stronger and more democratic approach to peace within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group platform.
According to the source, the Royce-Engel peace proposal, supported by the ANCA, consists of three elements: the conclusion of an agreement not to deploy snipers, the withdrawal from the contact line of the Artsakh and Azerbaijani armed forces of heavy weapons. To this end, it is planned to deploy advanced systems and equipment under OSCE supervision to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact. In addition, the proposal provides for the introduction of additional OSCE observers to better monitor ceasefire violations. However, to date, Azerbaijan has not agreed to implement the Royce-Engel proposal.
Earlier this year, the ANCA issued a statement outlining the shortcomings of the Madrid Principles. The statement in particular noted that ANCA supports negotiations in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group as a constructive platform for continuing negotiations, but rejects the Madrid principles as a deeply erroneous and, ultimately, counterproductive plan that impedes peace and increases the risk of a renewed war. "The Madrid principles are deeply asymmetric commitments requiring preliminary, strategic and irrevocable concessions to the land and security by Artsakh in exchange for only vague, deferred and incomprehensible promises regarding the status of Artsakh. The phased implementation of the Madrid principles places all responsibility on Artsakh, and all the benefits on Azerbaijan: This incorrect formula will not lead to peace, but rather will create conditions for the continuation of the conflict and regional instability. Azerbaijan over the past 25 em consistently violated his obligations under the 1994 tripartite ceasefire with Armenia and Artsakh, questioning whether his current or future leadership would in practice comply with Baku's obligations in accordance with the Madrid principles. The Madrid principles contradict our basic American belief in democratic self-determination A democratic and lasting settlement must be based on the right of free citizens to live under the direction of the government of their choice. The Madrid principles do not apply or even recognize the occupation by Azerbaijan of Artsvashen (Republic of Armenia) and parts of Shaumyan, Martakert and Martuni (Republic of Artsakh). In the context of the history of Armenia, the politics of Azerbaijan, democratic principles, international law or the precedent for resolving conflicts, there is no reason to believe that surrendering vast territories to Azerbaijan will somehow make Artsakh safer and Azerbaijan less aggressive, "the statement said.