March 21, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel. (202) 775-1918

ANCA Reaffirms Support for OSCE Minsk Group, Rejects Madrid Principles as a Flawed Plan for Lasting Peace

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today reaffirmed its principled opposition to the “Madrid Principles,” a deeply flawed and recklessly asymmetrical proposal advanced by the OSCE Minsk Group regarding Artsakh’s status and security.

See the ANCA statement below.

The ANCA supports the OSCE Minsk Group negotiations as a constructive platform for continued talks, but rejects its current proposal (known as the “Madrid Principles”) as a deeply flawed and ultimately counter-productive plan that sets back the cause of peace and raises the risks of renewed war.

— The Madrid Principles are profoundly asymmetrical, demanding upfront, strategic, and irrevocable concessions of land and security from Artsakh in return for only vague, deferred, and reversible promises regarding status from Azerbaijan.

— The phasing of the Madrid Principles front-loads all the risk on Artsakh and all the rewards on Azerbaijan. This flawed formula will not lead to peace, but, rather, sets the stage for continued conflict and regional instability.

— The Madrid Principles would force Artsakh, a predominantly Christian nation, under a violent Azerbaijani regime that has recruited extremists (including Afghanistan Mujahideen and ISIS militants from Syria) to fight its anti-Armenian war.

— Azerbaijan has, over the past 25-years, consistently violated its obligations under its 1994 tripartite cease-fire agreement with Armenia and Artsakh, calling into serious question whether its current or future leadership would, in actual practice, respect Baku’s commitments under a Madrid Principles-based peace plan.

— The Madrid Principles run counter to our core American belief in democratic self-determination. A democratic and durable settlement should be based on the right of free citizens to live under a government of their own choosing.

— The Madrid Principles do not address or even acknowledge Azerbaijan’s occupation of Ardzvashen (Republic of Armenia) and parts or all of Shahumyan, Martakert and Martuni (Republic of Artsakh).

There is no basis – in the context of Armenian history, Azerbaijan’s stated policy, democratic principles, international law, or conflict-resolution precedent – to believe that:

— Artsakh surrendering vast areas of its sovereign territory will somehow make Artsakh more secure or Azerbaijan less aggressive.

— Artsakh making upfront strategic land concessions will be followed by Azerbaijan forfeiting its claim of sovereignty over Artsakh.

— International peace-keepers deployed around Artsakh would actually prevent or even discourage renewed Azerbaijani attacks.

The free citizens of the independent Artsakh Republic, having built a thriving democracy following decades of Soviet rule and Azerbaijani aggression, deserve the same democratic freedoms and human rights that we cherish as Americans.

Artsakh is, at its heart, a very American story, representing the victory of a free people over foreign rule.

The citizens of the Republic of Artsakh, through their democratically elected government, are entitled to make decisions regarding their destiny, including through Artsakh’s full return to any and all international talks regarding status and security issues.

Artsakh – a democratic, Christian, pro-Western republic, standing strong against the forces of intolerance, deserves strong American support.

We encourage the United States to exercise continued leadership in the OSCE Minsk Group and encourage all parties to:

1) Set aside the failed Madrid Principles and abandon this deeply-flawed phased and asymmetrical approach to conflict resolution,

2) Develop a new, democracy and self-determination driven approach that addresses – on a horizontal basis and in a package-based format – outstanding status and security issues between the republics of Artsakh and Azerbaijan, and

3) Join with Armenia in demanding the full restoration of the Republic of Artsakh’s participation in all peace talks, negotiations, and decision-making regarding its future.

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