Planned visit by US lawmakers to Nagorny Karabakh challenged

The Azerbaijani Organization for the Liberation of Karabakh (OOK) has issued an ultimatum to the US ambassador here, the newspaper, Zerkalo, has reported. The OOK ultimatum expressed concern about a planned visit of US legislators from the Senate and House of Representatives to Nagorny Karabakh. Meetings of any kind between congressmen and leaders of the separatist movement will stir wide resentment among Azerbaijanis, the statement stressed. The people of Azerbaijan simply cannot accept the idea of a meeting between the legislators of a country that is a co-chair of the Minsk group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with separatists, the statement averred.

'We ask you to consider that any meeting with representatives of the occupation government, that any trip to Nagorny Karabakh via Armenia will be viewed as insults to the Constitution of Azerbaijan and to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,' the statement averred. The OOK also requested clarification on these matters within 10 days. If those are not forthcoming, there will be protests in front of the US Embassy, it said.

On August 19, it may be remembered, a delegation of US congressional staff made a one-day visit to Stepanakert, the capital of the Republic of Nagorny Karabakh. The group included staff from key committees of the US Congress, and there were meetings with several leaders of the Nagorny Karabakh Republic with the aim of preparing a larger meeting between leaders of the republic and US senators and representatives.

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