ARF Bureau Member Hovannisian Slams Jones’s MKR Statement

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Responding to the outgoing US Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones’s incendiary statement about the Mountainous Karabagh Republic–Armenian National Assembly vice speaker and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau member Vahan Hovannisian told Yerkir media on Wednesday that the American official’s stated opinions were the result of Turkish and Azeri lobbying efforts.

As reported by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) on Wednesday–Jones–during a January 13 video conference discussing US bilateral relations with Russia–called for increased US engagement in resolving regional conflicts in the former Soviet Union–stating: "It is in Russia’s interest for these areas–for Transnistria–Abkhazia–South Ossetia–Mountainous Karabagh–to be stable–for corruption to end there–for the criminal secessionists who rule there to be removed. It is not appropriate for this kind of instability and criminality to exist right in the middle of Europe."

Hovhannisian said that Jones’s statemen’s are both obnoxious and baseless. "Jones is an outgoing official–and had never made similar commen’s during her tenure as assistant secretary of state." This fact–according to Hovhannisian–indicates that high ranking American officials had not authorized her to express such statemen’s. He added that Jones’s stance does not actually reflect official US policy.

"Don’t forget former Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly rapporteur on Karabagh–Terry Davis–who issued a report after leaving the post. The same goes for the next rapporteur–David Atkinson," Hovhannisian said.

On Wednesday–the US embassy in Yerevan issued a statement in response to situation–noting–"US policy with respect to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not changed. The United States does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent country–and its leadership is not recognized internationally or by the United States."

"The United States supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and holds that the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh is a matter of negotiation between the parties in the Minsk Group process," continued the statement. "The United States remains actively engaged in advancing a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the Minsk Group process. We are encouraged by the continuing talks between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Assistant Secretary Jones’s comment quoted in the Moscow Times was directed at the need for the US and Russia to work together to resolve the conflicts and advance transparency and rule of law in the conflict areas. We recognize that the circumstances of each conflict are unique."

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