85 Members of Congress Issue Bipartisan Call For Karabakh Peace

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House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (top left) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel spearheaded the inititaive

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (top left) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel spearheaded the inititaive

Congressional Letter led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Leaders Royce and Engel Proposes Concrete Steps – Backed by the Obama Administration, Armenia, and Karabakh – to Save Lives, Avert War.

WASHINGTON – Senior Members of the U.S. House Armed Services, Appropriations and Intelligence committees joined Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY) and over 80 of their colleagues in calling upon the Obama Administration to support the implementation of concrete, pro-peace measures to de-escalate aggression along the borders between Armenia, Artsakh, and Azerbaijan, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“Violence along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh has increased dramatically, and the Administration policy of non-attribution when condemning violations isn’t working,” explained Chairman Royce. “It must change. In our letter, we propose a few common sense steps for the U.S. and the Minsk Group to take to deter further violence. Specifically, the call for all parties to withdraw snipers, and the proposal to deploy OSCE monitors and equip them with gunfire locator systems, provides tools to increase transparency and accountability for each and every cross-boundary violation. Ambassador Warlick should support these proposals, and press for their adoption by other Minsk Group partners,” concluded Royce.

“We commend Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel and more than 80 of their House colleagues for proposing common-sense steps to stop the killings, and, more broadly, for promoting an accountability-based approach to peace,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “This bipartisan letter powerfully underscores that America’s leaders – in both Congress and the White House – stand, along with Armenia and Artsakh, on the side of peace. Azerbaijan, in rejecting these peace-keeping measures, persisting in its cross-border attacks, and blocking investigative mechanisms to determine responsibility for acts of violence, is only further confirming its role as the aggressive party and deepening its international isolation.”

The Royce-Engel letter, addressed to Ambassador Warlick – the U.S. representative to the OSCE’s Minsk Group tasked with reaching a resolution of Nagorno Karabakh-related security and status issues – specifically calls for the U.S. and OSCE to abandon their failed policy of false parity in responding to acts of aggression, noting that: “The longstanding U.S. and OSCE practice of responding to each new attack with generic calls upon all parties to refrain from violence has failed to de-escalate the situation. Instead, this policy of artificial evenhandedness has dangerously increased tensions. There will be no peace absent responsibility.”

The letter outlines three concrete pro-peace steps that would, “in the short-term, save lives and help to avert war. Over the longer term,” the letter notes, “these steps could contribute to a comprehensive and enduring peace for all the citizens of the region:”

— An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers along the line of contact.

–The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.

— The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.

Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh have both expressed support for these life-saving initiatives; Azerbaijan has not.

Ambassador James Warlick has voiced the Obama Administration’s support for common-sense measures. In a statement issued to H1 Television’s Haykaram Nahapetyan, Ambassador Warlick explained, “We fully support the initiatives proposed by Congressman Royce and Congressman Engel. Confidence building measures and people-to-people programs reduce tensions and lay the basis for a lasting peace. We have raised each of these initiatives with the parties and will continue to pursue all steps that can lead to a negotiated settlement,” concluded Warlick.

ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, Executive Director Aram Hamparian, Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian and the ANCA Eastern Region’s Armen Sahakyan met with Ambassador Warlick in September, in the immediate aftermath of the latest fatal Azerbaijani attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, expressing concern about the OSCE negotiators’ reluctance to clearly and unequivocally condemn Azerbaijan’s fatal ceasefire violations.

Joining House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel in signing the letter are: Vice-Chair of the Democratic Caucus Joe Crowley (D-NY); Democratic Caucus Chair of Policy and Communications Steve Israel (D-NY); Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee Adam Smith (D-WA); Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee Sander Levin (D-MI); Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee Nita Lowey (D-NY); Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ); Ranking Member of the Budget Committee Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Ranking Member of the Ethics Committee Linda Sanchez (D-CA); Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); Chairman and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Karen Bass (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East Ted Deutch (D-FL); Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Albio Sires (D-NJ); Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia Brad Sherman (D-CA); Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ); Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior Betty McCollum (D-MN); Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Sam Farr (D-CA); Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Joe Heck (R-NV); Ranking Member of the Armed Subcommittee on Oversight Jackie Speier (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Loretta Sanchez (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats James Langevin (D-RI); Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU); Ranking Member of the Intelligence Subcommittee on Emerging Threats Mike Quigley (D-IL); Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security Kathleen Rice (D-NY); Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Peter Roskam (R-IL); Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Jim McDermott (D-WA); Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade Charles Rangel (D-NY); Chairman and Ranking Members of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets Scott Garrett (R-NJ) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); Chairman of the Education Subcommittee on Workforce Protection Tim Walberg (R-MI); Chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ); Chairman of Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads Jeff Denham (R-CA); Ranking Member of Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources Grace Napolitano (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Transportation Subcommittee on Highways Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Technology Anna Eshoo (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Trade Jan Schakowsky (D-IL); Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment Paul Tonko (D-NY); Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy Alan Lowenthal (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands Niki Tsongas (D-MA); Ranking Member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Foreign Agriculture Jim Costa (D-CA); Ranking Member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology Suzan DelBene (D-WA); Ranking Member on the Oversight Subcommittee on National Security Stephen Lynch (D-MA); Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior Brenda Lawrence (D-MI); Ranking Member of Science and Space Subcommittee on Oversight Donald Beyer (D-VA); Ranking Member of Science and Space Subcommittee on Research Daniel Lipinski (D-IL); Ranking Member on the Small Business Subcommittee on Trade Grace Meng (D-NY); Ranking Member of the Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth Judy Chu (D-CA); Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight Mike Coffman (R-CO); Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance Dina Titus (D-NV); Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Jim McGovern (D-MA); Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Robert Dold (R-IL); Congressional Hellenic Caucus Chairman and Armenian Caucus Vice-Chairman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Representatives: Mike Bishop (R-MI), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dave Brat (R-VA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Yvette Clark (D-NY), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Daniel Donovan (R-NY), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Michael Honda (D-CA), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Steve Knight (R-CA), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), David Trott (R-MI), David Valadao (R-CA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).

The complete text of the Royce-Engel letter is provided below.

The Honorable James Warlick
U.S. Co-Chair
OSCE Minsk Group

Dear Ambassador Warlick:

We are writing out of concern over the escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in deaths on both sides of the conflict. It is our hope that the United States, through its role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, as well as through direct diplomacy with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, will immediately advocate for several steps to promote peace in the region.

We believe that securing the full and public support of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Nagorno-Karabakh for the following steps would, in the short-term, save lives and help to avert war. Over the longer term, these steps could contribute to a comprehensive and enduring peace for all the citizens of the region.

An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers along the line of contact.

The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.

The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.

We also urge you to publicly condemn specific acts of aggression along the line of contact. The longstanding U.S. and OSCE practice of responding to each new attack with generic calls upon all parties to refrain from violence has failed to de-escalate the situation. Instead, this policy of artificial evenhandedness has dangerously increased tensions. There will be no peace absent responsibility.

Thank you for your consideration of these recommendations. We continue to support your efforts to reach a durable and just resolution to this conflict and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Authors

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One Comment;

  1. Robert Karl said:

    I am very disappointed not to see my congressman’s (Chuck Fleischmann) signature appear on this most elementary move for peace and decency. It is thus no wonder we have bureaucrats the likes of Amb. Warlick running the most-important foreign policy of this country.

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