Rep. Pallone Says with Aid to Karabakh US Somewhat Recognizes its Status

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) reported–on Monday–the results of his visit to Armenia and Karabakh.

The Congressman presented three directions by which he would try to influence US policy which heavily tilts in favor of Azerbaijan with regards to the Karabakh conflict.

Believing that the mechanism of shuttle diplomacy is inefficient–Pallone will insist that the United States make efforts in the matter of immediate participation of all the parties to the conflict–including Karabakh–in the negotiating process. Simultaneously–the United States can and must influence the main parties to the conflict–Karabakh and Azerbaijan–for the purpose of establishing confidence between them.

According to Rep. Pallone–the US can also contribute to strengthening the cease-fire. He reported cease-fire violations–as he personally witnessed newly brought in wounded soldiers in a military hospital.

Additionally–Rep. Pallone firmly believes that the United States must be able to ensure security guarantees for Karabakh. The efforts of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmen will be successful–only if these guarantees are ensured.

Rep. Pallone said that the reason for the somewhat pro-Armenian position held by representatives of the US and France at the recent OSCE ministerial meeting in Copenhagen was that they realized that it would be a mistake to foist any decision on Karabakh.

Pallone noted that the US government decided to earmark $12.5 million in assistance to Karabakh. "The size of the sum earmarked is not important–rather this decision implies that the United States to a certain extent recognizes Karabakh’s status and by allocating this assistance the US government starts its cooperation with the government of Karabakh," Pallone said. He reported that in the near future official US representatives would arrive in Karabakh to learn its needs and work out assistance distribution mechanisms.

This program will be followed by other humanitarian assistance and programs aimed at economic development as well as intensification of investment on the part of American companies and entrepreneurs. Pallone assured that the "Hayastan" committee set up within the US Congress and co-chaired by him makes every effort to encourage American investment.

Noting the importance of favorable economic relations between Russia and Armenia–Pallone said that he did not want Armenia to be fully dependent on Russia’s military equipment. "I would like the military relations between Armenia and the US to develop–and America could send its weapons to Armenia–which will in no way be used against–for instance–Russia," he said.

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