STEPANAKERT (Panorama.am) — Artsakh welcomes the briefing organized by U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce to discuss the Karabakh peace process, according to David Babayan, the spokesperson for the President of Karabakh.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has reported Congressman Royce urged the Obama Administration to speed up implementation of Royce-Engel proposals for Nagorno Karabakh peace, during a classified briefing with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group U.S. Co-Chairman James Warlick. Over a dozen U.S. House Members attended the closed-door briefing, during which Royce criticized ceasefire violations committed by Azerbaijan.
In an official “read-out” from the meeting, Royce stated: “Violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is at the highest point in decades. Just last month we heard reports of heavy weapon attacks and tank artillery fire – a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement. As Ambassador Warlick has said, this isn’t a ‘frozen conflict,’ but is a forgotten conflict – with a real risk of spinning out of control. That is why we need all snipers to be withdrawn, more international monitors to be deployed and gunfire locator systems to be put in place to increase transparency and accountability for each and every cross-boundary violation. Acts of aggression must be clearly condemned. The faster the administration can help put these in place, the quicker it can help put an end to the killing and avert war.”
Babayan said, “We certainly stress the importance of such meetings and discussions aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict. This meeting was a call for emphasis to be placed on a peaceful settlement of the conflict, which is hindered by Azerbaijan’s destructive stance”.
Babayan, however, is skeptical about possible progress following the Royce-organized briefing, in the context of Baku’s decision to withdraw snipers from the line of contact. ”The number of ceasefire violations by snipers has declined, but Azerbaijan currently uses armored vehicles more often on the border. So the international community, including the Co-chairs, should have criticized Azerbaijan’s offensive police in good time, and not turn a blind eye to that fact,” Babayan said.
Moreover, if at the time the international community had accepted Yerevan’s proposal and insisted on withdrawal of snipers from the line of contacts, the situation would have been quite different now.
Warlick thanked the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ed Royce on Twitter for hosting the meeting to discuss to the Nagorno Karabakh peace process. “We agreed to work for a settlement,” Warlick tweeted.
The U.S. State Department in December 2015 officially welcomed proposals by Royce, Engel, and more than 80 of their House colleagues to check Azerbaijan’s escalating aggression,