BAKU: Armenia criticizes Bush administration

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Jan 27 2005

Armenia criticizes Bush administration

Statements made by the US Assistant Secretary for European and
Eurasian Affairs Elizabeth Jones in a video conference with
English-speaking Moscow Times newspaper on January 14, have sparked
indignation from Yerevan.
“Russia should be interested in maintaining stability in

Upper Garabagh, North Ossetia, Abkhazia and Dnestr, fighting
corruption there and driving ‘criminal elements’ out of power”, said
“These utterances came as support for Azerbaijan’s militarist
statements”, said Armen Rustamian, chairman of the Armenian
“Dashnak-Tsutiun” party and head of the country’s permanent
parliamentary commission on foreign relations.

“US officials should be aware that the Upper Garabagh problem differs
greatly from the conflicts over Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Dnestr.
Jones’s comments favor certain politicians in Azerbaijan who plan to
push for military action in 2005, threaten war and issue ultimatums.”

Last Wednesday, the office of the Armenian diaspora organization “Ay
Dat”, condemned Jones’s statements, saying that it would demand a
retraction from the Bush administration.
On the same day, representatives of numerous Armenian youth and
student organizations held a protest action near the US embassy in
Yerevan. The protesters held posters saying “Shame on Elizabeth
Jones” in Armenian and English, MediaMax news agency reported.
Jones also criticized Russia for the lack of action on its part in
pressuring separatists for a peace conflict settlement. She also said
that US and Russian presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin will
discuss the Upper Garabagh issue in Bratislava, Slovakia on February
Washington immediately responded to these statements by reaffirming
its position on the Upper Garabagh conflict.
“The US policy on the Upper Garabagh conflict remains unchanged. The
US does not recognize Upper Garabagh as a separate state. Its
leadership has not been recognized either by the international
community or the United States. The US supports Azerbaijan’s
territorial integrity and believes the future status of Upper
Garabagh should be determined through talks among the parties. The US
remains committed to achieving a peace settlement of the Upper
Garabagh conflict through the OSCE Minsk Group. We welcome the
ongoing negotiations between the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) special envoy on the
Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict Goran Lennmarker also made a statement
regarding the organization’s position on the settlement issue.
“Changing the format of talks on Upper Garabagh is out of the
question. But additional forces should be drawn from the conflicting
sides to assist in the negotiating process, these should be drawn
from specialists and parliamentary members.”
He also mentioned, with regret, the ongoing refugee issue, in both
countries due to the protracted nature of the conflict At the same
time, he voiced a hope that stepping up peace talks will accelerate
achieving stability in the region. The report also indicated that the
OSCE is interested “in fostering the spirit of talks” between
Azerbaijan and Armenia. “We are ready to provide any kind of
assistance in continuing the dialogue”, it said.
Lennmarker pointed out that the involvement of international
mediators, including OSCE, “is only of an influencing nature” and
that resolution ultimately depends on the attitudes of Azerbaijan and
Armenia. Lennmarker has repeatedly proposed to hold a meeting between
parliament members of Azerbaijan and Armenia, but as yet to no avail.
His report will be discussed at a session of the OSCE PA in mid-2005.