Morningstar Arrives in Armenia Responds to Inquiry on Karabakh Aid

YEREVAN–WASHINGTON (Noyan Tapan–ANCA)–Ambassador Richard Morningstar–the State Department official responsible for coordinating US assistance to the Newly Independent States–arrived in Armenia Wednesday to hold a series of meeting with Armenia’s leaders.

In a meeting with President Robert Kocharian–issues of foreign investment and plans for stabilizing Armenia’s economy were discussed.

Kocharian stressed the importance of foreign investment in Armenia and stated that the climate was ripe and conditions safe for such foreign input in Armenia’s economy.

Morningstar responded in writing Monday to a series of questions on Armenia and Karabakh submitted by House International Relations Committee member Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) at a March 26 hearing–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

Among his written responses to Congressman Sherman’s six inquiries–Amb. Morningstar restated the Administration’s opposition to Section 907–which places conditions on direct US aid to the Azerbaijani government.

He noted that–"Section 907 was apparently enacted as an incentive toward a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It has not proved to be an incentive; it has failed and should be repealed."

In response to a later question he acknowledged that Section 907 is not an obstacle to sending US humanitarian aid to refugees in Azerbaijan–as the Azeri government and its allies have claimed. He affirmed that "Section 907 does not prevent us from providing humanitarian assistance to Azeri refugees and we are providing assistance in this area."

"From the date of its enactment–the State Department has sought–through every means at its disposal–to repeal or undermine this law. At every opportunity–at countless Congressional hearings–oil industry conferences–and diplomatic briefings,–State Department officials have loudly proclaimed their opposition to Section 907–while remaining silent on the reason behind this law–namely Azerbaijan’s illegal blockades of Armenia and Karabakh," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

"As a result of this misguided policy–the United States is sending Azerbaijan exactly the wrong message–that it need not lift its blockades and comply with Section 907 because the law will soon be repealed," he added.

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