U.S. calls for long-term, independent mission to protect ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh
In a recent press briefing, Vedant Patel, the principal deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, has called for the deployment of a longer-term, independent, international monitoring mission to Nagorno-Karabakh. Patel stressed that such a mission is essential to provide transparency and assurances that the rights and security of ethnic Armenians in the region will be safeguarded.
During the press briefing, Patel stated, "The United States is going to continue to play a role in engaging with Azerbaijani and Armenian leadership at the highest levels to pursue a dignified and durable peace." He also emphasized the need for a monitoring mission, stating, "You've also seen us, over the course of this past week and beyond, reiterate our call for a longer-term, independent, international monitoring mission in Nagorno-Karabakh to provide transparency and reassurances that the rights and securities of ethnic Armenians will be protected, particularly for those who may wish to return, and for the protection of cultural heritage sites, which all, of course, is in line with Azerbaijan's public statements and their international obligations as well."
Patel was further questioned about Armenia's decision to join the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In response, he said, "Well, we respect Armenia's sovereignty and independence, and we'll leave it to Armenia's Government to comment on its legislative processes, of course. We respect the right of every country to join the ICC and have been encouraged by many states, including Armenia, that have undertaken commitments to promote justice, accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity."
Regarding a recent UN team's report claiming that they did not witness any damage to civilian infrastructure during their visit to Nagorno-Karabakh, Patel stated, "So we certainly appreciate those comments from the UN spokesperson. But that does not change the United States' point of view on this. As I just said to Alex, we continue to believe, even in the light of the UN visit, that there is a strong desire and a need for a longer-term, independent international monitoring mission in Nagorno-Karabakh. We think that that will provide transparency; we think that it will provide the appropriate reassurances for the various rights and securities that we continue to be deeply concerned about."
This statement from the U.S. State Department comes in the wake of a senior Armenian diplomat strongly criticizing the UN team, stating that their report was "discrediting the UN as an institution."
The U.S. continues to advocate for an international monitoring mission in Nagorno-Karabakh, emphasizing the importance of transparency and security for ethnic Armenians in the region, despite differing assessments from other international entities.