FM Nalbandian Visits US Meets with Kerry


WASHINGTON (Combined sources) — US Secretary of State John Kerry has hosted Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian for talks focusing on the impasse over Nagorno-Karabagh.

Ahead of their meeting on June 4, Kerry said it was “critical” that all parties increase efforts to resolve the conflict over the breakaway Azerbaijani territory populated by ethnic Armenians.

“One of the most important issues, obviously, that we all really want to try to see resolved one day is the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Kerry said.

“It is critical that all the parties — and when I say ‘all the parties,’ I mean, obviously, the Azerbaijanis, but also Turkey, Russia, Iran, and others — try to find a way to help break the impasse.”

Nalbandian said relations between Yerevan and Washington were “today in their highest point” and that both sides shared a common vision to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

“We share the vision, same vision, that it is important to continue efforts to find, exclusively, a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based on the principles and norms of international law, particularly the nonuse of force, self-determination, and territorial integrity,” Nalbandian said.

Kerry met on June 3 with Nalbandian’s Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov, where he cited a possible “path forward” on the conflict.

Kerry and Nalbandian were also to discuss economic ties and “strengthening democracy” in Armenia.

Armenian opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian was in Washington on June 3, where he said he urged the State Department to take a more active role in promoting Armenian democracy.

Before going into their meeting, Kerry told reporters that “Armenia today is an important partner with United States in a number of initiatives. Importantly, they’re helping us in Afghanistan with ISAF, they’ve played a key role in Kosovo helping to keep peace there. And one of the most issues, obviously, that we all really want to try to see resolved one day is the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabagh. It is critical that all the parties — when I say all the parties, I mean, obviously, the Azerbaijanis, but also Turkey, Russia, Iran, others — try to find a way to help break the impasse that has kept this struggle alive and always potentially dangerous.”

Nalbandian, in turn, thanked Kerry for his warm welcome. “Both countries have a good interaction in the international arena covering international regional security, proliferation, fight against terrorism, as you mentioned, peacekeeping operations from Kosovo to Afghanistan, other challenges, who are sharing a vision that it is important to continue efforts to find an exclusively peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict based on the principles and norms of international law, particularly non-use of force, excessive force, self-determination, territorial integrity.”

He added that relations between Armenia and Turkey should be normalized without preconditions.

“During the last two decades since our independence, the United States has extended vital support for Armenia, and we are thankful for that,” Nalbandian added.

He thanked President Obama and his administration for “a remarkable contribution to the strengthening of Armenian-American relations, which are today in their highest point.”