“As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States is strongly committed to a peaceful and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We appreciate hearing from you on this issue and are glad for the opportunity to speak to you directly about what work we’re doing to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and address humanitarian issues,” the White House said in response to a petition by Elkhan Suleimanov, chairman of the Association for Development of Civic Society in Azerbaijan launched on the “We the People” section of the White House website.
The petition called on the Obama administration “to assist in the prevention of a humanitarian catastrophe in the region” because of the dangers posed by the neglected Sarsang water reservoir.”
In the response the White House said: “We have read Resolution 2085 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and, although the United States is not a member of PACE, we welcome opportunities to exchange views on the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process with any interested interlocutor.”
“On May 16, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry participated in discussions with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French State Secretary for European Affairs Harlem Desir. Presidents Sargsyan and Aliyev reaffirmed their respect for the ceasefire, accepted confidence-building measures to reduce the risk of violence along the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border, and agreed to another round of talks in June, with a view toward resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement,” the statement reads.
“We continue to urge the sides to demonstrate restraint and enter into an immediate negotiation on a comprehensive settlement, which would include the return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan’s control and a determination of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status,” the White House said.
“As part of our ongoing dialogue with the sides, we have and will continue to facilitate discussions related to humanitarian issues. Management and maintenance of the Sarsang Reservoir is one such issue. We welcome a meeting between technical experts from the sides to discuss water management and dam inspections. The co-chairs are ready to facilitate such a meeting,” the response reads.
“Ultimately, a resolution of this longstanding conflict depends on the political will of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. As a Minsk Group co-chair country, we will continue our efforts to advance peace and prosperity in the region,” the White House stressed.