ANCA: U.S. Policy on Karabakh Should Align with American Values

Armenia and Artsakh


WASHINGTON—As U.S. Ambassador James Warlick gears up to make a statement on Nagorno Karabakh Wednesday, the Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian underscored the importance of aligning U.S. policy with American values.

“The standard against which we measure our State Department’s policy on Nagorno Karabakh is, of course, America’s core commitment to the universal values of freedom and democracy,” said Hamparian. “Since the era in which we won our own independence, Americans have stood proudly on the side of liberty, rejecting foreign rule over free peoples, and defending – for ourselves and all humankind – the enduring principle that governments must derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Ambassador Warlick, who serves as Co-Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, which is mediating status and security issues related to Nagorno Karabakh, is set to issue the U.S. policy statement at 9:00 am EST on May 7th, at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace roundtable. The statement is timed with the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Nagorno Karabakh ceasefire.

“The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh’s independence, like our own, represents the victory of democratic self-determination over foreign tyranny and aggression. We rightfully celebrate and support this great triumph of the human spirit,” noted Hamparian. “As Americans, we should never ask others to live with less freedom than we would accept for ourselves.”

The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) is an integral part of historic Armenia that was arbitrarily carved out in 1921 by Joseph Stalin and placed under Soviet Azerbaijani administration, but with autonomous status, as part of the Soviet Union’s divide-and-conquer strategy in the Caucasus. Nagorno Karabakh has never been part of an independent Azerbaijani state.

During seven decades of Soviet Azerbaijani rule, the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh was subjected to discriminatory policies aimed at its removal. Even after these efforts to force Armenians from their land, Nagorno Karabakh’s pre-war population in 1988 was over 80% Armenian. In the late 1980’s, the United States welcomed Nagorno Karabakh’s historic challenge to the Soviet system and its leadership in sparking democratic movements in the Baltics and throughout the Soviet empire. Following a peaceful demand by Artsakh’s legislative body to reunite the region with Armenia in 1988, Azerbaijan launched an ethnic cleansing campaign against individuals of Armenian descent with pogroms against civilians in several towns, including Sumgait and Baku.

On September 2, 1991, the people of Nagorno Karabakh declared independence from the Soviet Union and became the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. On December 10, 1991, Nagorno Karabakh held an independence referendum in which 82% of all voters participated and 99% voted for independence. In response, Azerbaijan launched an all-out war against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, targeting civilians and recruiting Islamic extremist mujahideen from Afghanistan and Chechnya to join the Azerbaijani army against Christian Armenians. A ceasefire was signed on May 12, 1994.

Since declaring independence in 1991, Nagorno Karabakh has successfully conducted five parliamentary and five presidential elections – that have been praised by international observers as free, fair and transparent. The most recent presidential elections held in July 2012 were favorably received by more than 80 international observers from two dozen countries, including the United States. Election observers included the former Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch and then Canadian Parliamentarian Jim Karygianni, who declared, “It was a picture perfect election from start to finish.” Freedom House upgraded Karabakh’s democracy status as a result in 2012. Parliamentary elections held in May 2010 were rated “free, fair and transparent” by an independent American-Dutch monitoring delegation sponsored by the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), which noted that Karabakh “continues to make strong progress in establishing and sustaining a healthy and sustainable democracy.”

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9 Comments

  1. Mirijan Michael Kochian said:

    An outstanding performance by Karabakh government and it’s criticize. They deserve USA and European and Armenia’s support. Value has its objective evidence in Karabakh development. I am confident USA involvement will be historical and everlasting.

  2. Tomas said:

    Hamparian needs to reassess his statements and reevaluates his diagnosis on American values. What values is he talking about ? The values of indiscriminate saturation bombings against regimes which do not follow Washington diktats ? Ran sacking and utterly destroying nations under false pretexts ( Iran, Libya, Afganistan, Syria, Yugoslavia,) Today’s American values do not represent the ideas of freedom and democracy .. One does not export democracy through the medium of airplanes and warlike bluster. We would like to know what kind of American values is hapkaria refering. The less America gets involved with karabakh the better for Armenia. American policy and values are an integral part of the partnership with the genocidal Turkish state. The Turkish state is an enemy of Armenia, by extension Of the partnership America is unfriendly to Armenia. Geopolitically Armenian does not feature in Americas grand strategy for their hegemonic expansion, and encirclement of Russia, towards the east and Asia. For American policy makers the sooner Armenia is gotten out of the way, the better for their grand strategy to lay control of the Caucasus..

    • Avetis said:

      Very well stated, Tomas. The West has in fact been an enemy of the Armenian state for decades. In recent times, had it not been for its Russian protection, Armenia would have suffered the fate of Serbia – or worst – a long time ago. Since they cannot bomb Armenia with explosives, they have been using their various levers (including Western funded news organizations, political opposition circles in Armenia and Armenian activists living in the West) been bombarding Armenia with poisonous rhetoric via a vicious information war that is specifically designed to demoralize Armenians and drive a wedge between the Armenian Diaspora and Armenia. Anyway, don’t expect any of this to be understood by the readers here. Pigs will fly before Armenians politically wake up.

    • Hratch said:

      You’re absolutely correct. Past values of freedom and democracy have all been tossed out the window. Nowadays, the only value is to say you are for freedom and democracy but then act in any which way to pursue your interests. This not only applies to the US but to Russia and ever country as well.

  3. Garbis Korajian said:

    Nagorno Karabakh abides by democratic principles. As a result, this small nation is a highly democratic state in every sense. I am privy to make this statement not because I am Armenian, but I have visited and worked in Karabakh as a consultant and trainer in Good Governance. During my short work visit, I was fortunate enough to observe a highly functional and orderly state, something that is a rarity in this part of the globe, especially in Azerbaijan. The United States and Western Countries have to use this small nation as an exemplifying democracy and encourage developing countries to learn a few things about running a country. As for the Azeris, they might consider sending experts in Good Governance to come and learn democracy in action from independent Artsakh.

  4. Avetis said:

    Very well stated, Tomas. The West has in fact been an enemy of the Armenian state for decades. In recent times, had it not been for its Russian protection, Armenia would have suffered the fate of Serbia – or worst – a long time ago. Since they cannot bomb Armenia with explosives, they have been using their various levers (including Western funded news organizations, political opposition circles in Armenia and Armenian activists living in the West) been bombarding Armenia with poisonous rhetoric via a vicious information war that is specifically designed to demoralize Armenians and drive a wedge between the Armenian Diaspora and Armenia. Anyway, don’t expect any of this to be understood by the readers here. Pigs will fly before Armenians wake up politically.

  5. Hagop D said:

    Based on the crude commentary above, it is clear that they have no clue about what Hamparian was saying. First, you are confusing ‘American Values’ with ‘American Foreign Policy’, and the two are not necessarily the same. Example: there are neocon elements in the US government who are drooling to invade Syria and Iran, and the American people have made it clear they do not support such moves. Second, Hamparian’s statement is to remind those that are misguided on America’s foreign policy regarding Artsakh that they have nothing to complain about since Artsakh’s existence is based on the pursuit of freedom from tyranny. And that is the correct approach. Can any of you complaining pseudo-patriots like Avetis do better? What are you proposing Avetis, that Hamparian go in front of US government officials and recite “God bless mother Russia”?? Get real.

    The ANCA is doing its best to make sure America’s foreign policy does not adversely or directly affect the people of Artsakh, and reminding them of what American Values are supposed to be about. Stop complaining and be glad that we have such dedicated people in the ANCA which has helped the people of Artsakh.

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