Incendiary Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Jones Undermine the Karabagh Peace Process

January 18, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today condemned highly incendiary statements by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones referring to Nagorno Karabagh’s leaders as “criminal secessionists” and calling for their removal from power. The statement came as part of a January 13th digital video-conference with journalists in U.S. Embassies in Moscow, Rome and Bratislava.

“Assistant Secretary Jones’s comments seriously weaken the foundation of our role – as Americans – as impartial mediators of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “Her remarks unfairly attack the right of the people of Nagorno Karabagh to express themselves democratically through elections. They also prejudice the outcome of the OSCE negotiations, materially compromising the search for peace, and – very significantly – embolden the growing chorus in the Azerbaijan government that are calling for renewed aggression against Nagorno Karabagh.”

“The Armenian American community is shocked and outraged at Assistant Secretary Jones’ remarks. We condemn her statements as counter to the long-standing U.S. policy of helping the parties reach a negotiated settlement, and call on the Administration to begin repairing this damage by immediately and clearly renouncing these patently unfair and demonstrably inaccurate remarks,” said Hachikian.

During the video conference, Jones, in discussing U.S. 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.”

When asked to clarify her reference to “criminal secessionists” in the region, Jones stated:

“What about the areas that are right around Russia’s borders where there are as I said secessionists who are criminals that seem to us to undercut Russia’s security by allowing and not really addressing in a concrete way the fact that there are secessionist, two secessionist areas remaining in Georgia and one in Moldova. There are still outstanding questions with Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia can play a very positive leadership role in addressing these questions. It cannot be in Russia’s interest to allow this kind of criminal activity to take place so close to its borders. This is where there can be a breeding ground for terrorists. That is not in Russia’s interests. It is not in Russia’s interest, or in the interests of the United States or Europe for these areas to be free for weapons transportation, for narcotics transportation and trafficking. It cannot be in Russia’s interests.”

The complete transcript from the video conference may be obtained on the U.S. Embassy-Moscow, Russia website:


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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