Statement by ANCA Executive Director Cites President’s Speech Today Advocating Democratic Aspirations; Criticizes his Failure to Apply Democratic Principles to Nagorno Karabakh

June 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian, in the wake of President Obama’s speech this evening championing the right of the citizens of Afghanistan and all peoples to live in freedom, issued a statement citing the Administration’s failure to apply the democratic principle of self-determination in its Nagorno Karabakh diplomacy.

In his speech, President Obama asserted that: “In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power – it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We are a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens. We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab World. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.”

The full text of Hamparian’s statement is provided below:

“The direction of U.S. diplomacy on Nagorno Karabakh, including the OSCE Minsk Group proposal which will be discussed at the upcoming Kazan summit, runs contrary to the very principles – self-determination, freedom, and democracy – that President Obama so ardently advocated this evening.”

“While we certainly welcome the ongoing efforts of the OSCE to bring about a fair and lasting peace, we remain troubled that the deal presently under consideration would force the citizens of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic – who are barred from acting as a party to the ongoing negotiations that will determine their fate – to trade their hard fought security and well-deserved independence for an undefined ‘interim status’ that will increase, not diminish, the risks of renewed Azerbaijani aggression.”

“It is reckless and irresponsible to ask Armenians to make upfront, concrete, and effectively irrevocable land, status, and security concessions in exchange for deferred and easily reversible Azerbaijani promises of a vaguely defined ‘expression of will’ regarding Artsakh’s status that may or may not – depending on Baku’s willingness – take place at some point in the future.”

“The Obama Administration should, first and foremost, require that the official representatives of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic be fully and immediately reinstated in the peace process, and then move forward, not by pressuring the Armenian side into reckless concessions, but rather by acting in the spirit of the President’s powerful words this evening, and in accord with his campaign commitments to seek a lasting settlement for Nagorno Karabakh based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination.”


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 * Email.anca@anca.org
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