WASHINGTON, DC — Nagorno-Karabakh Republic president Bako Sahakian is paying a visit to the United States that has elicited a strong reaction from Azerbaijani authorities.
Ahead of the trip last week U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baku and handed a note of protest addressed to the U.S. Department of State over Sahakian’s planned visit.
“The note says that getting an American visa on an Armenian passport and entering the US on the basis of” unreliable “information provided by Bako Sahakian, a resident of the city of Khankendi (Stepanakert red.), Permission to conduct events promoting the regime in relevant US institutions and aimed at on the collection of finance in the US in support of the “occupation of territories,” contradict the norms and principles of international law, the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, bilateral documents signed between Azerbaijan and the United States, and the US official position.
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikmet Hajiyev claimed that such a visit would “seriously harm the negotiating process [over Nagorno-Karabakh] and increase tensions in the region.”
Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the US also held a meeting at the State Department to express the Azerbaijani side’s protest, the spokesman added.
“As a response to such behavior of the US, Azerbaijan will proceed from the principle of reciprocity in relations with the US,” Hajiyev stressed.
Meanwhile, the delegation led by President Sahakian arrived in Washington on Monday and on March 13 the Karabakh leader visited the embassy of the Republic of Armenia where he met with Ambassador Grigor Hovannisian and the diplomatic staff.
“A range of issues related to cooperation between the United States and the two Armenian states were on the agenda of the meeting,” said the Karabakh leader’s press office, adding that Sahakian stressed the importance of close cooperation between Karabakh, Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora as “a crucial factor for successful implementation of the scheduled programs.”
It is also reported that while in Washington Sahakian also visited the Permanent Representation of Nagorno-Karabakh to the U.S. and held a meeting with its staff. A range of issues related to the activities of the structure were on the agenda of the meeting, the source said.
“The president [Sahakian] noted the importance of expanding and deepening cooperation with the United States, underlining that the representation should continue implementing daily professional work. He gave specific instructions in that direction,” the report said.