Heffern Sees Continued US Push for Protocols

US Ambassador to Armenia John Hefern

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The United States will remain “deeply involved” in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and keep pressing for the implementation of Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements during President Barack Obama’s second term, Ambassador John Heffern said on Wednesday.

“The Obama administration and Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton devoted a lot of time and attention to Armenia and the South Caucasus,” Heffern said, commenting on implications of Obama’s reelection for U.S-Armenian relations. “Secretary Clinton came here twice during her term in office … President Obama has been deeply involved in trying to find a peaceful resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh. I think that all of that will continue in the second term.”

Heffern made clear that the U.S. administration will also carry on with its efforts to revive the U.S.-brokered agreements to normalize bilateral relations that were signed by Armenia and Turkey in 2009. “Despite the disappointment with the lack of progress, the United States is not giving up on this,” he told reporters in Yerevan, adding that Washington will “continue to push the protocols at every opportunity.”

Turkey makes parliamentary ratification of the two protocols contingent on a Karabakh settlement acceptable to Azerbaijan. Armenia rejects this precondition. The U.S. likewise stands for an unconditional establishment of diplomatic relations between Yerevan and Ankara and opening of the Turkish-Armenian border.

Heffern further predicted a greater emphasis on economic cooperation in U.S. policy towards Armenia. “Where I hope there will be changes, where I am committed to doing more is in the economic area,” he said. “Job creation in the United States and Armenia are critical goals for both countries.”

“So I think the biggest change [for Armenia] in the second Obama administration will be more emphasis on job creation and trade and investment,” added the diplomat. Armenia, for its part, should improve the domestic business environment and bolster competition, he said.

Heffern further implied that the U.S. presidential election should serve as an example for Armenia, which is scheduled to hold a presidential ballot in February. He noted that the extremely close U.S. race saw “serious competition” between two “very strong” candidates and their visions and was covered by a “free and open press.”

“I’ll be looking for all three of these points in Armenia’s elections next February,” he said, expressing hope that the vote will be contested by “at least two strong candidates.”

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4 Comments

  1. Alex Postallian said:

    My turn next to get on the business end of that opium pipe.jerky turkey will never agree to disagree on any agreement with Armenia,thats their style,intimidate the smallest contender.BULLY. clinton is pro jerky,including the whole U.S diplomatic corps she as much said so. Its a stage play,with the actors taking roles of commedians,but its not funny.Its a failure of diplomatic finger pointing at jerky,or pick on a bigger or new target.Leave well enough alone.There is an axiom in Equity,to seek equity,you must. go to court with clean hands.Jerky dont know how to play the game fairly. compish

  2. George said:

    Obama’s win is bad news for Armenians, the Protocol is Achilles Heel to one sided American solution with Turkey

  3. bayrakiniyakan said:

    Turkish-Armenian normalization ………. Heffern Sees Continued US Push for Protocols ? Mr Ambassador we Armenians been pushed for the last 1000 year , now please Turks & Americans go push each other with love or without love , leave Armenia & Armenians alone !

  4. bayrakiniyakan said:

    By the way Mr ambassador US should push what Armenian Americans & the ANC been asking your Government for the last 40 years to RECOGNIZE the ARMENIAN GENOCIDE , all i can say shame on USA

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