Departing US ambassador to Armenia: give back Ngorno-Karabakh
Surprised that this view has no support in Yerevan
Translator comment: Ngorno-Karabakh, also called Artsakh, was always Armenia, until Stalin, then commissar of nationalities, assigned it to Azerbaijani jurisdiction.
The US ambassador Richard Mills, completing his mission in Armenia, stated that the settlement of the Karabakh conflict is impossible without the return of “a certain part of the occupied territories” to Azerbaijan.
In an interview with the EVN Report, Richard Mills said that the people of Armenia should decide for themselves what is acceptable to them in the process of settling the Karabakh issue. However, the diplomat continued, he was surprised by the fact that there is practically no discussion in Armenia “about an acceptable settlement route or compromise.”
“What I heard is a little alarming, as it seems that we are taking a step back. When I first arrived in Armenia, I found that most of the Armenians with whom I spoke were categorically against the return of the occupied territories within the framework of a peaceful settlement. The understanding of my government for many years was that these territories were initially occupied in order to be used further in the framework of the “land for peace” formula. And I was very surprised when I discovered that this option no longer has any support,” said Mills.
According to the diplomat, he understands that the April 2016 warfare exacerbated perceptions of Armenians even more. “However, the harsh reality is that any settlement requires the return of a certain part of the occupied territories,” the US ambassador added. The US ambassador, soon leaving Armenia, assumes the status quo in the Karabakh conflict zone no longer meets the interests of the Armenian side. “Closed borders, scarcity of material and human resources, corruption risks are associated with unresolved conflict,” Mills said.
It should be noted that if the Armenian public had heard such assessments as those from the US official regarding the Karabakh settlement, for example, from the Russian ambassador, then supporters of the West in the republic would not miss the opportunity to stigmatize him with accusations of interference in the internal affairs of Armenia.
We note that earlier Mr. Mills, like his predecessors, more than once made statements and appeals far from diplomatic neutrality, with clear signs of an invasion of the sovereign affairs of another state. For example, in mid-August, Ambassador Mills advised Armenian entrepreneurs intending to do business with Iran “to consult the American diplomatic mission” in order not to fall under the influence of the US anti-Iran sanctions.