Clinton to Ask Baku ‘Serious Questions’ [Updated]

President Sarkisian meets with Secretary of State Clinton in Yerevan on June 4

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged that she will press Azerbaijan with “serious questions” regarding the killing of three Armenian soldiers ahead of her visit on Monday, reported panorama.am

Hours before her scheduled arrival in Yerevan, Azeri soldiers violated the cease fire and killed three Armenian soldiers in the Tavush district of Armenia.

“I was saddened to hear the latest news,” Clinton told a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Yerevan, commenting on the ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan recorded on Monday.

Clinton expressed concern over death of soldiers. “Force cannot resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, force must be ruled out.”

“I will visit Baku the day after tomorrow, and I have serious questions to ask the Azerbaijani leader. Both me and the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are convinced that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved exclusively by peaceful means, and a way should be found in this direction,” the senior U.S. official noted.

She called on the sides to refrain from use of force, because there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“The only path for a solution is through the negotiating table,” Clinton added.

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian also spoke about the cease fire violations at the press conference.

“We strongly condemn the violent provocations that are organized by the Azerbaijani side on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border which, unfortunately, resulted in victims and wounded, and that Azerbaijan is not satisfied by the fact that every day there are violations by Azerbaijanis on the line of contact of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. They are trying to transfer the tension, to sharpen the situation onto the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan which greatly undermines the negotiation process, as well as it is threatening the regional stability. The responsibility of all the possible consequences of all this lies on Azerbaijan,” said Nalbandian.

Congressional Leaders Urge Strong Condemnation
Outraged at the latest cease-fire violation and the death of three Armenian soldiers, Rep. Adam Schiff issued a statement urging Clinton to condemn the attacks.

“This latest outrage by Azerbaijan’s military makes it even more important that Secretary Clinton condemn these belligerent actions during her visit to Baku later this week. Azerbaijani provocations along the Line of Contact are a direct result of the war mongering rhetoric of the Aliyev regime and they must cease. We should fully apply Section 907 and prohibit the transfer of any arms or dual use items to Azerbaijan,” said Schiff.

Rep. Frank Pallone, co-chair and founder of the Congressional Armenian Issues Caucus, issued a statement after Monday’s killing of three soldiers in Armenia.

“I strongly condemn the violent attacks in the Tavush region of Armenia today by Azerbaijani forces, which, tragically, killed three and wounded five Armenian soldiers. This act of aggression is one in a pattern of escalating attacks by Azerbaijan against both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Violence by Azerbaijan impedes peace efforts and has the potential to lead to greater regional instability and violence,” said Pallone.

“This type of aggression warrants a forceful condemnation of Azerbaijan’s actions by the Administration. It is my hope that Secretary of State Clinton, who is currently visiting the Caucuses and will meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Wednesday, delivers a strong message that the United States will not tolerate this type of violence and will hold Azerbaijan accountable. I join with the Armenian people at this time to call for an immediate end to these senseless attacks,” added Pallone.

Rep. Howard Berman, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs committee, also expressed his outrage about the attacks and called for strong condemnation of Azerbaijan.

“I am deeply disturbed by press reports about a brazen, unwarranted cross-border attack by Azerbaijan that resulted in the tragic deaths of three Armenian soldiers and the wounding of five others. This outrageous action underscores the critical importance of preventing the recently proposed sale of U.S. military equipment to the Government of Azerbaijan – a sale I recently requested Secretary Clinton to halt. Aside from the possible military application of this equipment against Armenia, such asale would send entirely the wrong message to Azerbaijan, particularly in light of this horrifying incident. I offer deepest condolences to the families of the slain Armenians and my best wishes for a speedy recovery to the others. ”

Last week, Rep. Berman wrote a letter to Clinton, urging the Secretary to reconsider the proposed sale of military equipment to Azerbaijan.

Rep. Brad Sherman also condemned the attack and called on Clinton to publicly do the same.

“I strongly and unequivocally condemn Azerbaijan’s recent attack on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border killing three Armenian soldiers.  The timing of this brazen attack — on the same day Secretary of State Clinton visits Armenia — highlights Baku’s utter contempt for its neighbors and its lack of commitment to the peace process between Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan,” said Sherman.

“I call on the Administration not only to publicly condemn the attack but to enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act without exercising its waiver provisions. We cannot provide any type of aid to Azerbaijan as long as Baku blockades Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and rebukes peace with its neighbors. We must also block the sale of any arms to Azerbaijan, especially as these can be used against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh,” added Sherman

Armenia-Turkey Protocols
Nalbandian and Clinton were also asked about the Turkey-Armenia protocols.

Clinton reiterated her position that the “ball is in Turkey’s court.”

“Negotiations are not conducted, negotiations cannot be conducted, as the negotiations are over and they had resulted in signing of the protocols, which Turkey refuses to respect and implement, trying to put forward preconditions. Turkey has no right to put preconditions in this issue. This position is shared by the international community,” explained Nalbandian.

Clinton arrived in Armenia Monday afternoon and after a reception at the US Embassy (see below) she met with President Serzh Sarkisian.

“Historic ties between the two nations, large Armenian community of U.S. as well as the ideas of freedom, justice and democracy have promoted establishment of good relations between the states,” Sarkisian told Clinton, adding that in the 20 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, relations had been developing gradually.

In assessing the US role in the region, Sarkisian said bilateral relation are built on the basis of mutual respect and confidence, the presidential press service reported.

“I want once again thank the United States for assisting Armenia during the last 20 years,” he said.

In her turn, Secretary Clinton noted it is honor to her to visit Armenia in the year marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the states.

Clinton said that Washington greatly values its partnership with Armenia, and continues to support the development and increasing welfare of the Armenian people.

Clinton stressed that she, personally, and President Obama appreciate contacts with Armenia and expect continuation of the dialogue. Clinton added that she was well aware of how hard the president has worked to find solutions to regional problems concerning Armenia.

Thus, the United States is committed to assist and support his ongoing activities as an excellent leader, she emphasized.

Clinton Honors Rights Advocates
Clinton, joined the U.S. Embassy, Counterpart International, the British Embassy, the OSCE, and the EU to honor individuals working to promote human rights, accountable governance, and free speech in Armenia at the Universal Rights Awards Ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan.  Secretary Clinton delivered remarks at the event and met privately with the award recipients.  The Universal Rights Awards Ceremony was the first multi-mission initiative to highlight the contributions of Armenia’s civil rights activists, government officials, and media representatives to the promotion of human rights.  Armenian government officials, foreign diplomats, NGO representatives, and the press attended the event.

USAID/Armenia Mission Director, Jatinder Cheema, opened the ceremony and awarded Artur Sakunts with the Freedom Defender Award.  “Artur defends all minorities, especially those that are the target of intolerance, such as ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities.  He is not afraid to take unpopular stances, working constantly for a more tolerant Armenia,” said Director Cheema.

Counterpart International’s Chief of Party, Alex Sardar, presented the Woman of Courage Award to Tsovinar Nazaryan for her military reform efforts.  “Tsovinar should be proud of her role in encouraging the military to embrace reform, which will lead to a more modern, effective, and humane force for Armenia,” Mr. Sardar said.

The British Ambassador to Armenia, Jonathan Aves, recognized the Deputy Chief of Police, Major-General Artur Osikyan, for his contributions to police reform, especially regarding improvements to the police educational system.  “Artur Osikyan has helped lay the foundation for transparent and accountable police force that works for the citizens of Armenia,” Ambassador Aves said.

Presenting the award for media excellence to the editors of Epress.am — Sonya Apresova, Yuri Manvelyan, and Armen Melikbekyan — the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, commended them for their fair and balanced coverage and commitment to human rights reporting.  Ambassador Sorokin stated, “Epress’s coverage of human rights plays an important role in informing the public and contributing to public debate.  This type of reporting is an important element in Armenia’s democratic transformation.”

The EU Head of Delegation to Armenia, Traian Hristea, awarded environmental activists — Apres Zohrabyan, Yeghia Nersesyan, Gor Hakobyan, Mary Khachatryan, and Ruzanna Grigoryan — for their grassroots campaign to promote environmental conservation in Armenia.  “It is the commitment and perseverance of many civic activists that led to important victories for the environment this year.  With this award, we would like not only to honor their work, but also to promote their future efforts in Armenia,” said Ambassador Hristea.

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30 Comments

  1. Shame on Her said:

    It is her who has ordered those deaths to gain leverage during her “negotiations” , why can’t the public see that?…

  2. Dvo said:

    all problems in armenia solved Clinton condems azerbaijan that wont stop them from killing our people

  3. Realist said:

    This is another reason why Yerevan should be more forceful with the US administration. The ANCA and its army of volunteers are doing their part here in the US. Are Sarkisian and Nalbandian doing their part in Yerevan? Did ANY senior government official in Yerevan today convey their disgust with the Obama administrations ludicrous policies of artificial equivalence?

  4. Hovsep said:

    Another “pledge” from the same backstabbing party that pledged to recognize the AG??? What a joke.
    This hollow pledge of hers is as meaningless as obama’s.They can talk of making “pledges” all they want until November, I won’t budge this time around.

  5. Dvo said:

    we are not America or any other country who has a population of millions of people we are a small people and thos deaths really hurts us she thinks like they are some soldiers which just died like in afganistan people die of the nato

    i expect she does more than asking serieus things becouse they will ignore it anyway like they allreadey did a thousend times

  6. Dvo said:

    we should reconize artsakh as an independed country if have all the right like everyone else
    et menq um hetenq zichum vor, et mer hogernen zichelu bar cheka menq chenq zichum eti mer yerkirna

    arten mi hayastani tjap hogela menatsel azerbaijanum

    etqan propaganda anelov yev iants aka hayastani propagandov xiden yesim inch ke hasnes

    menq petka aveli bind lineynq etqan kotaratsits heto yev mer hogere kortseneluts heto

  7. Dvo said:

    yete hoxi zichum ka toc turkere mer hoghere het tan tox ienkel cyprusin iants hoghere het tan ba eti xi chen anum vorovhetev iank hezoren vonts uzum anumen

  8. fact said:

    I would say the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Yerevan did cost three young Armenia solders there life since the criminal regime in Baku wanted to demonstrate to US that they are ready to take revenge therefore ready to any kind of mass crime against humanity as it was the case in 90´s ! The criminal regime in Baku has send one again a message to US and OSCE I am sure the same fascist authorities in Ankara will ask US to support criminal officials in Baku!

  9. MK said:

    Clinton is no friend of Armenia nor US policies,lets all be clear about it, if anyone thinks otherwise they must have their head tested.We have all seen their anti Armenian actions and policies.

  10. Garo said:

    Oh wow… I am exhilirated “SERIOUS QUESTIONS” .. look at that… Does that mean that all along you were unserious with them Mrs. Clinton? Like in the Genocide recognitions that we so long heard from you as promises, EMPTY PROMISES, UNSERIOUS WORDS towards us just to buy votes?

  11. Christo said:

    Now we have names behind the CIA/State department operatives in Armenia.

  12. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    Dear Secretary of State
    Don’t You understand that meeting criminals equals to being a criminal? Even if Great American Nation makes an excuse for You and Your President History will take revenge over both of You. Are You blind? Don’t You see that 09/11/01 has been the direct continuation of 10/27/99?

  13. Alex Postallian said:

    The IRS,should be notified of Hilary Clintons income (baksheesch) from her secondary employer jerky turkey,whom she proudly pledged her allegiance. For a price,always for a price.You can see the dollar-signs in her eyes.

  14. Masis said:

    The Turk is like an animal in the jungle. Diplomacy isn’t going to work. What their Koran says is “An eye for an eye.” I think it is mandatory that we retaliate in a very aggressive manner. We should go into Azerbaijan take hostages and threaten to kill them should Azeris attack again. If they attack we ought to kill the hostages in the most savage way possible and post it on the internet. That will get Clinton’s attention.

    • Stewie said:

      Hey Masis, how about Turkey and Azerbaijan just say “The hell with Armenia”, plow in and take it over within 96 hours (all computer-generated models show this to be the inevitable outcome). Then, Turkey withdraws her troops, giving what was Armenia to Azerbaijan as a gift (I understand that they have some unfinished business with you all), The Armenians will simply revert back to what they’re used to…being servants to conquering masters!

  15. Kevork said:

    When Billary gets back to the US, I recommend she ask Monica some ‘serious questions’ too.

    • Christo said:

      Forget that, that means she has to confront the victim and get her side. I think she should appoint some historians and let the historians decide what happened between her and monica.

  16. bigmoustache said:

    i wonder if they pressed her about her recent opinion on the armenian genocide.
    if i were president id take her to dzidzernagapert again an dare her to say it again, in my face.

    btw, anyone else notice that her “serious questions for baku” is the biggest condemnation we have heard to date? before this is was a general comment that would apply to both sides.

    why cant our leaders put strong pressure on her, make her feel uncomfortable. surpirse her with a press confrence and ask the questions in front of cameras, and when she gives some weak worded answer have the balls to say “no, wait, what did you say?”

  17. George said:

    PRESIDENT SARKISSIAN SHOULD KNOW: It’s of Turkeys interest to stop this war, in the end IF A WAR STARTS IN THE REGION the only country that has TOO MUCH TO LOOSE AND LITTLE TO GAIN IS TURKEY

    • bigmoustache said:

      no we have too much to lose and little to gain. we have artsakh, the azeris expect any advances by armenia to be temporary, something we can give away/negotiate.
      azeris shouldnt expect us to give up any new land but what do you expect, its been 20 years and artsakh is still not officially recognized by armenia…what the FK does it take?
      if our leaders fail us, we should all seriously consider regime change by any means

  18. Saaten Maagar said:

    The mere fact that she pledges to ask serious questions to Baku indicates that she is has not been very serious about this issue till now and that puts a question mark on her seriousness now. She is simply continuing her same charade that she portrayed during the Turkish protocols treating Armenia as an insignificant issue among other serious problems.

    • Christo said:

      After all, she did make the comment that Armenia is a “mini state.”

  19. Ararat said:

    The head donkey of the artificial state of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, is a thug and he must be dealt with as a thug. The presidents of legitimate governments can’t behave the way this donkey does and get away with it. The head of a state can’t engage in racist provocations of its population and sit at the negotiating table at the same time. This donkey gets away with it because he is sitting on oil fields the West is exploiting and he knows it.

    The western companies are massively invested in this fake country which is nothing more than an oil depot for the western markets and a satellite state for Turkey. As long as this relationship exists between this thug and Turkey and the West nothing will be done to silence this donkey. Thugs and bullies only understand the language of force. To them peaceful negotiations are signs of weakness.

    The Turkish wild boar Erdogan is using this thug to push us into a corner to make concessions on Karabakh and also to force us to give up on Armenian Genocide and our territorial claims in Western Armenia. Armenians must always keep in mind that Turkey and Azerbaijan are partners in crime and will use each other to our detriment. We must never trust the Turks and the pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijanis. They talk and act like we Armenians fell off the sky and landed on their lands. This is pure Pan-Turanism that less than a century ago resulted in the Armenian Genocide and the destruction of the Armenian civilization from today’s Eastern Anatolia. We must be outspoken and put these Central Asian nomads in their place and remind them over and over again that they are none other than a bunch of invading and occupying nomadic mongoloid Turkish tribes whose origins are in Mongolia and Northern China.

    Armenians must be resolute and decisive in dealing with this illegitimate thug. We must hit back and hit hard. We must hit them where it hurts, their pockets. We must be smart and hit two birds with one stone as they say. The lifeline of this thug Aliyev is the oil pipelines and the revenues he is amassing in billions. We must work on secret missions to blow up his lifeline. When we cut the cord on his lifeline and dry up his oil revenues, sabotage the investments of western oil companies, and disrupt the oil flow then we will have a voice. Until then this donkey thug Aliyev will do as he wishes and get away with it.

  20. Christo said:

    You only killed 3 soldiers, You IDIOTS. How did you expect me to pressure these Armenians? On my next visit I would expect better performance!

  21. bigmoustache said:

    rather than pointing our fingers at external threats we should be looking within to see where we have lacked/failed.
    our weakest links start at the top, with nalbandyan and sargzyan

  22. arziv said:

    Did Madame Clinton visit tzitzeganapert ? I hope she did. The only worthwhile aspect of her visit to Armenia would have been just to grace her presence in the Martyr’s park.

  23. Gaidzag Sh said:

    At the least, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should bring us back the answers to the “serious questions”.

  24. Garo Avedis said:

    we want condemation of this act,also sanctions against Azerbijan,not just questions.

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