US Assistant Secretary of State Apologizes for Statement About Karabagh

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told the Armenian public on Friday that US Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones has conveyed her apologies for a recent statement on Mountainous Karabagh.

In an interview on Armenian Public Television–Oskanian said that Jones assured him that she was not referring to Mountainous Karabagh and its authorities when saying "criminal secessionists" must be removed from power.

During a January 13 video conference with journalists in US Embassies in Moscow–Rome and Bratislava–Jones–in discussing US bi-lateral relations with Russia–called for increased 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–Nagorno-Karabakh–for these areas 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."

The statement caused a wave of protests in Armenia and in Armenian communities abroad.

Azbarez has also learned that the US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans also appeared on TV in Armenia to clarify the US position on this matter. The exact nature–however–were not yet known as we were going to press.

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