Armenian American Leaders Voice Concern Over Karabakh

WASHINGTON–A delegation representing the leading Armenian American organizations met Friday with the Clinton Administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and a team of senior National Security Council and State Department officials to address serious shortcomings in the Administration’s policy on Nagorno-Karabakh–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

The hour-long White House meeting coincided with a meeting in Washington of the US–Russian–and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group–which is mediating the conflict.

"Although serious differences remain–we are encouraged by the open and frank exchange of views between the Armenian- American leadership and the National Security Advisor," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

"This meeting was portrayed by the National Security Advisor as the first in a series that he would like to convene with the leadership delegation. We both welcome and support this spirit of dialogue. Armenian- Americans have deeply-held views on the right to self-determination of the people of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. We are committed to supporting all efforts leading to a lasting and equitable peace which respects Karabakh’s independence within secure borders," he added.

Among the senior Administration officials joining the National Security Advisor at the meeting were Amb. James Collins–State Department Senior Coordinator for the NIS; Amb. Joseph Presel–Special Negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh; Lynn Pascoe–who will soon assume the role of Special Negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh; Steve Pifer–Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for Russia–Ukraine and Eurasia; Michael Matera–NSC Director for Russia–Ukraine and Eurasia; Bill Taylor from the State Department; and Special Assistant to the President Marilyn DiGiacobbe from the White House Office of Public Liaison.

The Armenian American community leaders who participated in the meeting were Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Very Rev. Moushegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Archbishop Khajag Barsamian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Rev. Movses Janbazian–Armenian Evangelical World Council and Armenian Missionary Association of America; Most Rev. Raphael Andonian–Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics; Garo Armenian–ANCA; Ross Vartian–Armenian Assembly; Thomas Samuelian–Armenian Bar Association; Mary Mooradian–Armenian Relief Society of North America; David Zenian–Armenian General Benevolent Union; and Charles Tateosian–Knights of Vartan.

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