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U.S. Concern Over Turkey’s Role in Artsakh War Raised in Helsinki Commission Hearing

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Washington D.C. – During a hearing today by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, (also known as the Helsinki Commission), Ranking Member Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) asked U.S. Ambassador Philip T. Reeker, who has led the U.S. State Department Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs since March 2019, about the U.S. role in addressing the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict and expressed unease about Turkey and Russia’s involvement, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

In response to Senator Cardin, Ambassador Reeker relayed America’s concerns regarding Turkey’s role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, including “foreign fighters being brought in” and “weapons being provided” while stressing that there is “no long-term military solution” to the dispute.

Ambassador Reeker further affirmed the importance of the OSCE Minsk Group process in finding a lasting peace, stating that the “OSCE is the right platform.”

“A peaceful resolution has to be obtained at the negotiation table,” added Ambassador Reeker.

He concluded that while no diplomatic breakthrough occurred despite coming close on earlier occasions, Reeker stressed that the OSCE co-chairs negotiating process had maintained peace for nearly 30 years and that the parties need to resume the process. In closing, Ambassador Reeker also indicated that the Administration is dedicating resources for reconstruction and humanitarian needs to help the people of Artsakh.

Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan, who recently returned from an Armenian Assembly of America fact-finding mission to Artsakh and Armenia to assess the needs and post-war destruction and reiterated the Assembly’s request for $100 million in emergency humanitarian relief to help the Armenian people. “In the aftermath of the devastating six-week war launched against the Armenian people, we urge the Administration and Congress to ensure immediate humanitarian aid to Armenia and are calling for $100 million for this purpose,” she said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), in a floor statement last month, also requested $100 million in assistance for the Armenian people and for an immediate end to the waiver of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act to stop military assistance to Azerbaijan and ban any kind of direct United States aid.

The Assembly has also expressed ongoing concerns regarding the human rights atrocities inflicted on the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and the number of prisoners of war who have been held captive by the Azerbaijan government. Disturbing reports have emerged in recent days about the mistreatment of Armenian captives to which the Helsinki Commission needs to pay attention.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


NR# 2020-53

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