US State Department does not call Karabakh Armenians’ exodus ethnic cleansing until there is ‘evidence’
The US Department of State does not call the mass departure of Armenians from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) ethnic cleansing until there is "evidence."
Spokesperson Matthew Miller noted during Monday’s Department press briefing that the United States take allegations of ethnic cleansing, genocide, or other atrocities seriously.
"We are in touch with contacts on the ground about the situation. We won’t shy from taking appropriate actions to respond to allegations of atrocities and promote accountability for those responsible for atrocities when we see evidence that they’ve taken place. But as always, a determination regarding genocide or ethnic cleansing is based on a deliberate, evidence-based process. It’s not something I can speak to with any degree of finality from this podium," Miller added.
At the same time, he noted that "a hundred thousand, or I should say around a hundred thousand, ethnic Armenians have departed Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia."
"Now, we don’t know—I don’t think any of us can say whether—what percentage of those plan to remain in Armenia permanently, what percentage of them may want to come back, if the conditions allowed, if they felt sufficient assurances about their treatment if they would return, which is why we are reiterating our call for an independent international monitoring mission that would provide transparency and reassurance to the population of Nagorno-Karabakh that the rights and securities of ethnic Armenians would be protected, particularly for any of those that wish to return. Azerbaijan has made those assurances. We think there ought to be an international monitoring mission there to observe and guarantee them," Miller added.
Also, he welcomed the UN mission in Karabakh.
"We continue to work with our allies and partners about what a more long-term mission ought to look like," Miller added.
And speaking about the prospects of a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the spokesperson of the US State Department noted that "There are other issues beyond the status of Nagorno-Karabakh that are at dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and we would encourage them to return to peace talks to discuss and ultimately come to resolution on those issues."
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