Perina Says 907 Did Not Hinder Peace Process

GLENDALE–United States Special Negotiator on the Karabakh Conflict Ambassador Rudolf Perina–who was on a tour of Southern California Armenian American communities this week–expressed uncertainty on the effect of the waiver of Section 907–enacted by President Bush earlier this year. Ambassador Perina–who replaced former negotiator Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh in October of 2001–made the statement during an exclusive interview on Horizon TV’s English language Community Forum program–which aired on Thursday evening.

"We–as the mediators–argued that Section 907 did not really have a direct impact on the negotiations–in the sense that if for example Azerbaijan was to find a settlement with Armenia that was acceptable to it–the settlement would not be turned down just because 907 exists or does not exist.

"So–we did not think it would hinder the negotiation–but in the same logic–it [907 waiver] helps to normalize relations within the region–and in that respect–contributes to effect the stability of the entire region.

"I hope [the waiver will facilitate a settlement]–although I don’t know yet. I can’t be sure of that–but it might facilitate finding a settlement in the sense that this legislation will allow us to improve our bilateral relations with both countries–both Azerbaijan and Armenia," said Perina during the interview with host Ara Khachatourian.

"But as you know–Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act was not supported by the Executive Branch of our government–from the onset. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have been opposed to it. They felt it hindered our ability to fully develop relations with Azerbaijan," explained the highest ranking American diplomat involved in the Karabakh case.

Earlier this year–President Bush signed the waiver of Section 907–after waiver authority was granted to the President by Congress in the latter part of 2001. A coalition of Armenian American organizations–led by the Armenian National Committee of America opposed the waiver request put forth by President Bush and fought to maintain hard guarantees to protect the security of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

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