Azerbaijani public concerned over U.S. assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh

By: Sara Rajabova

The assistance that the U.S. State Department provides directly to the Armenia-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan causes great concern for the Azerbaijani public.

Azay Guliyev, the chairman of the Council of State Support to NGOs under the Azerbaijani President made the remark at a meeting with Alina Romanowski, the coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia of the U.S. Department of State, Mikaela Meredith, the director of USAID in Azerbaijan and Derek Hogan, Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan, the council reported.

He said this fact is a major concern for country’s community. Guliyev stressed that any assistance or visits undertaken by foreign countries to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan without permission of Baku are unacceptable and contrary to the international law.

Earlier, Romanowski said the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is the subject of international negotiations and the OSCE Minsk Group. Assistance provided by the U.S. Department of State to Nagorno-Karabakh is made solely for the purpose of clearance of the territory from mines.

Unauthorized visits to Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied regions of Azerbaijan are considered illegal and individuals who pay such visits are included in Azerbaijani foreign ministry’s “black list.”

Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly one million were displaced as a result of the war.

Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994, but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal. Peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. have produced no results so far.

Romanowski inquired about the situation related to the legal framework of grants to local NGOs by foreign donors and asked Guliyev to clarify a number of points in this area.

Guliyev informed the guests about the additions and changes made to the law “On Grants” and answered their questions.

Furthermore, Meredith praised the cooperation between the two institutions and noted the important role of the council in addressing the challenges faced by the partners.

In conclusion, the sides noted the importance of continuing cooperation and dialogue on the discussed issues.

Since Azerbaijan’s emergence as an independent nation in 1991, the U.S.-Azerbaijan relationship has evolved into a strategic partnership based on mutual interests and common values.

SOURCE: AZER NEWS

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