Earlier in June, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Dr. Karen Donfried traveled to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia to illustrate the United States’ steadfast commitment to prosperity, democracy, and peace in the region.
Marking the 30th anniversaries of successful diplomatic relations with all three countries, Assistant Secretary Donfried emphasized U.S. support for their sovereignty and independence, underscoring the right of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia to chart their own paths. “We hope this level of support extends to the rights of Artsakh Armenians to determine their future when discussing the final status of Nagorno Karabakh,” states Armenian Council of America (ACA) Chairman, Sevak Khatchadorian.
Dr. Donfried highlighted the readiness of the United States to support the development of political, economic, and interpersonal connections across the entire region. In Baku, Azerbaijan, she met with Ilham Aliyev, other regime officials, and civil society members. The Assistant Secretary underscored U.S. support for the diplomatic efforts between Azerbaijan and Armenia toward building a lasting peace, before meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and other government officials in Yerevan where she reaffirmed the shared values between the United States and Armenia, and a commitment to Armenia’s ongoing democratic development.
“We hope that Assistant Secretary Donfried got a good look at the situation in Armenia today, especially along the border in the critical Syunik and Gegharkunik regions,” says Khatchadorian. “It is vital for high level officials in the Biden administration to fully understand the life and death dynamic that Armenians face every day, due to Azeri aggression. Withdrawal of Azeri armed forces from Armenia’s internationally recognized borders is of the utmost importance.”
The Armenian Council of America continues to advocate for funding for internally displaced persons due to the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, in addition to calling on the U.S. government to force the return of approximately 200+ Armenian “Prisoners of War” (POW) illegally held by Azerbaijan for the last 17 months – and to use the proper terminology. “Referring to them as detainees deprives them of their rights under international law,” explains ACA Communications Director, Arsine Kaloustian.
“We look forward to engaging further with Assistant Secretary Donfried and the State Department on these and other pertinent issues when she returns to Washington.”
As a grassroots organization, ACA is dedicated to working with all political leaders, offering Armenian related news, analysis and resources for policymakers, media, students and activists, advocating issues important to Armenian Americans. The ACA also aims to strengthen U.S. – Armenia and U.S. – Artsakh ties, the development of programs promoting sustainable economic growth and good governance in Armenia, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship.