Obama Urges Sarkisian to Advance Karabakh Peace

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (center-right) met with the United States' new Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, James Warlick (center-left)

YEREVAN—President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian to “move beyond the current impasse in the negotiations,” and work toward a lasting solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Obama’s letter, an identical copy of which was directed to Azeri president Ilham Aliyev on Monday, was hand-delivered by the new US OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairman James Warlick who is on a tour of the region this week.

“It’s my hope that Ambassador Warlick’s wealth of diplomatic experience and your government’s desire for progress will bring new energy to the co-chairmanship, and to the peace process. I encourage you to take advantage of opportunities for direct dialogue with Azerbaijan in the months ahead and to avail yourself of the co-chairs’ time and experience to move beyond the current impasse in negotiations. With the outlines of the compromise already well established, now is the time for a renewed effort to bring peace to the region,” Obama said in his letter.

After meeting officials in Yerevan, Warlick told reporters that all parties will need to compromise if they are going to be successful and find a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“The people of this region have already suffered very much, and we need to find a solution that will ensure lasting peace, security, and prosperity,” Warlick stressed.

The diplomat stated that he decided to hold his first press conference in Armenia’s capital city Yerevan without his fellow Minsk Group Co-Chairs, since he would like to listen to all parties, hear their views, and better understand the situation.

“I look forward to return and get back with my fellow co-chairs. Of course there is an arms race [between the parties to the Karabakh conflict], but, most importantly, we want to ensure the stability in the region and that the conflict be resolved in a peaceful manner,” concluded the OSCE Minsk Group’s new US Co-Chair.

Warlick traveled to Stepanakert to meet with leaders of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

New U.S. Co-Chair of Minsk Group Visits Armenia

YEREVAN (PanArmenian.net)—The newly appointed U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, James Warlick, explained his decision for an unaccompanied visit to the South Caucasus region at a September 12 news conference in Yerevan.

“I seek to hear every side, understand their approach to the problem, and familiarize myself with the issues before I return here with my colleagues,” he said.

“I hope for partnership with the Russian co-chair in these conflict settlement efforts,” Warlick said, declining, however, to comment on whether Armenia’s joining of the Customs Union will affect America’s stance.

Warlick also urged for political will, compromise, and the acknowledgement that the fate of future generations depends on the settlement of this conflict.

He also called against military buildups, warning that such courses of action are detrimental to the peace process.

The co-chair will next travel to Stepanakert to meet the Nagrono Karabakh Republic’s leadership.

Earlier, Warlick met Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan during his visit to Yerevan.

At the meeting, Foreign Minister Nalbandian expressed hope that Warlick’s major diplomatic experience will contribute to the Karabakh conflict’s settlement. He further stressed Armenia’s determination to pursue a peaceful solution to the issue based on the principles offered by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

The situation at the line of contact was discussed during the meeting with the Defense Minister, with the necessity to observe the ceasefire, reduce tension at the contact line, and boost trust between the conflicting parties stressed.

At a Baku-hosted briefing, Warlick urged to find a way to achieve piece and prosperity in the region on the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the ceasefire.

“It’s time for the Minsk Group, Azerbaijan, Armenia and other countries in the region to take necessary steps to achieve a lasting peace in Karabakh,” Azeri media quoted the co-chair as saying.

“I’m here to better understand the situation. I’m not here for the past, I’m here to help build a conflict-free future,” the co-chair said, expressing hope for the conflicting parties to realize that the settlement will be to everyone’s benefit.

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5 Comments

  1. An Armenian said:

    If Mr. Warlick has any common sense, he should know that peace will never prevail over the South Caucasian region until Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide, returns the Western Armenian lands (The Wilsonian map) and makes monetary and material reparations. Anything less than that is hogwash. Unless one is dealing with Serzh Sarkisyan and his cronies who would sell the interests of Armenia for theirown personal gains.

  2. James said:

    Armenians do not have to compromise to anything. Nagorno Karabakh is already settled. It was, is, and always will be Armenian land including the surrounding territories. As soon as one country officially recognizes the republic, Armenia will follow and then many others. In fact, Azerbaijan needs to hand over more land over to Armenia, such as Nakhchivan, that is currently occupied by them. Additionally, they need to apologize for and offer reparation for pograms against the Armenian people.

  3. arziv said:

    Obama should focus on Syria. We don’t need his bombers to fly over Stepanakert. Leave Artsakh alone.

  4. Sevag said:

    Send a strong letter back to Obama telling him to “speed up” his promise in officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide

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