Azerbaijan’s Divisive Campaign at UN Threatens to Derail Karabagh Peace Process

Rep. Pallone speaks out against destructive UN resolution; ANCA leads grassroots campaign to urge the administration to oppose destabilizing measure

WASHINGTON–DC–On Tuesday–the ANCA issued an appeal to Secretary of State Colin Powell urging him to "strenuously and publicly oppose" an Azeri-sponsored United Nations resolution–which would seriously undermine the Mountainous Karabagh peace process. The action follows a strongly worded November 19 House floor statement by Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and an earlier joint letter by the Armenian Caucus Co-chairs calling the resolution "ill-advised" and urging the US to take decisive action against the measure.

Azerbaijan has pressed forward with its resolution–which seeks to condemn the repatriation of Armenia’s to their ancestral homes in Mountainous Karabagh–despite opposition from the Co-Chairs of the Organization for Security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group. The co-chairs have noted that–"introducing this issue to the United Nations General Assembly may have two negative consequences. In light of the situation we have outlined–this will be detrimental to the efforts to find a just and lasting settlement of the issue–particularly at this time. Secondly–it will fail to achieve consensus–a situation that will not be helpful. We advise avoiding this situation."

Azeri Ambassador to the UN–Yashar Aliyev–began lobbying in support of the resolution on October 14–the day that he submitted a letter requesting that it be included on the UN General Assembly agenda. Both the UN General Committee and General Assembly have voted to allow the matter to be considered. The United States–along with Minsk Group Co-Chairs France and Russia–have abstained on both votes.

In his November 19 remarks–Rep. Pallone expressed alarm that "the United States has thus far failed to compellingly address the resolution?This failure by the Administration now has the potential to undermine US interests and American values in the strategically important Caucasus region."

The November 7 letter from the Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) raised similar concerns–stressing that–"efforts to reinforce stability and reduce the risk of conflict are in the best interests of the US and the South Caucasus region. To this end–we urge that the United States forcefully renounce this proposal–secure its retraction–and impress upon the Azeri government that it should drop such counter-productive tactics in favor of a serious and lasting commitment to the OSCE Minsk Group process."

In the days leading up the vote–ANCA chapters around the country have mobilized local activists to urge the US Ambassador to the United Nations to actively oppose the Azeri measure. The ANCA launched a free WebFax campaign on its website–www.anca.org–to Secretary Powell and US Ambassador to the UN John Danforth–calling for an unequivocal "no" vote on the resolution. The WebFax letter explains that Azerbaijan’s resolution "works at cross-purposes to America’s interests–which are best served by continued dialogue. In fact–the only interests served by Azerbaijan’s resolution will be those of hardliners in Baku who seek the fragmentation of the OSCE framework–the unraveling of ten year’s worth of negotiations–and the resumption of hostilities in the region…The United States–as a co-chair of the Minsk Group and an honest broker to the negotiating process–should strenuously–and publicly oppose this measure at every stage."

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