Royce-Sherman Letter Calls On Obama To Press Aliyev On #NKPeace

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (left) and Rep. Brad Sherman who also serves on the committee
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (left) and Rep. Brad Sherman who also serves on the committee

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (left) and Rep. Brad Sherman who also serves on the committee

ANCA Encourages Community to Secure Congressional Signatures for this Bipartisan Appeal

WASHINGTON—In anticipation of President Aliyev’s visit to Washington for a Nuclear Summit at the end of March, leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are calling upon President Obama to use this opportunity to personally press the Azerbaijan leader to stop obstructing the implementation of the life-saving Royce-Engel peace proposals for Nagorno Karabakh.

The letter, authored by Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, builds upon an earlier Congressional letter, sent by 85 U.S. Representatives to the State Department last December, in support of three practical peacekeeping measures, known collectively as the Royce-Engel proposals:

— An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers, heavy arms, or new weaponry 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.

In response to this earlier letter, the Obama Administration voiced support for the Royce-Engel proposals, specifically commenting that: “…the urgency of implementing such measures has never been greater.” Despite this rhetorical support from the Obama Administration – and the longtime backing for these measures by the OSCE Minsk Group, Armenia, and Nagorno Karabakh – their implementation has, to date, been blocked by the Azerbaijani government. The authors of the Royce-Sherman letter seek to overcome this impasse by encouraging President Obama to work on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit with all the key stakeholders in a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement to implement the concrete, common-sense peace-keeping measures that have been proposed by Members of Congress and previously supported by his Administration.

“We join with Chairman Ed Royce and Congressman Brad Sherman in calling upon President Obama not to miss this unique opportunity to call out Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s obstruction of the life-saving Royce-Engel peace proposals for Nagorno Karabakh,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Please encourage your U.S. Representative to sign the Royce-Sherman letter by visiting www.anca.org/AliyevDC.”

Support this pro-peace initiative.
www.anca.org/AliyevDC

Royce-Sherman Letter to President Obama

Mr. President:
We are writing in advance of planned visits to Washington, DC by the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia for the 4th Nuclear Security Summit, to underscore the importance the United States attaches to ending threats and acts of aggression, deterring a renewed outbreak of war, and creating the conditions for a fair and enduring peace in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.

As supporters of a non-violent, negotiated peace, we appreciated the Department of State’s letter of November 12, 2015 voicing the Administration’s support for our bipartisan appeal, dated October 26, 2015, which was endorsed by 85 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, recommending specific steps to reduce violence, save lives, and keep the peace process moving forward. As you know, this State Department letter reaffirmed the Administration’s support for “proposals to withdraw snipers, expand OSCE’s role via an OSCE investigative mechanism, and deploy sensors along the Line of Contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan international border.” We welcome Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh’s support for these peace-keeping measures, and remain hopeful that Azerbaijan will lift its objections and allow for their timely implementation.

It is in this spirit that we urge you to work on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit with all the key stakeholders in a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement to implement concrete, common-sense peace-keeping measures that have been proposed by Members of Congress and supported by your Administration:

— An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers – or, for that matter, any escalation of heavy arms or new weaponry – 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.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. We will continue to support your Administration’s efforts within the OSCE Minsk Group to reach a fair and durable resolution of status and security issues related to Nagorno-Karabakh, and look forward to hearing of your actions in this regard.

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