Rosenblatt’s and Djerejian’s “mysterious” visit and comebacks

In February 1999, Peter Rosenblatt, a member of the U.S. Foreign Policy Council, and Edward Djerejian, Director of the James Baker Institute, visited Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Edward Djerejian worked with the administrations of eight U.S. presidents and played a pivotal role in the Arab-Israeli peace process. Peter Rosenblatt was the personal representative of U.S. President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981 at the negotiations on the future political status of Micronesia.



They held negotiations in Yerevan and Baku with Presidents Robert Kocharyan and Heydar Aliyev.

Though Djerejian and Rosenblatt stressed that they were holding negotiations exceptionally as private persons and they do not represent the position of the government of the USA, there were grounds to assume that the USA decided to pretend to its own role in the settlement of Karabakh conflict, independent of the activity of the OSCE Minsk group.

President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Arkady Ghukasian also had a meeting with the retired American diplomats, and stated that “some new suggestions were presented to the Karabakh side, which are yet not to speak about.” Answering the question how should one understand the statements of the American diplomats that they hold negotiations solely as private persons, Arkady Ghukasian stated, “As you can see, if their suggestions really have a perspective, consequently it’s not excluded that it might become the position of the USA.”



In May 2000 Peter Rosenblatt participated in a conference dedicated to the settlement perspectives of the Karabakh conflict that took place in the American University Washington College of Law.

He noted that there were very few variants which would satisfy all the three sides of the conflict.

“There is one special status for Karabakh which would let Azerbaijan say that its territorial integrity will be preserved, and at the same time this status satisfies Armenia and Armenians living in NKR, who will be able to be masters of their own destiny. There are few ways which will lead to such a decision,” Rosenblatt said. He also noted that “the idea of a territory exchange between Armenia and Azerbaijan appeared in the second half of 1999. The principal in this context was the status of Nagorno Karabakh.”

Commenting on Rozenblatt’s statements, Minister of Foreign Affairs of NKR Naira Melkumian said in an interview with Mediamax that “In the speech of Peter Rozenblatt at the conference in Washington, the model of an associated state as a model of settlement of the Karabakh conflict was particularly considered.”

“No offers regarding a territorial exchange between Armenia and Azerbaijan with the aim of settling the Karabakh problem have been put forward by him. In that connection, I would like to declare that despite the spread rumors such variant of regulation has not been offered to us,” Melkumian stressed.

In May 2000 Edward Djerejian said in an exclusive interview with Mediamax that “The Nagorno-Karabakh issue cannot be resolved by the forces from outside.” “Ever since we undertook a mission to Baku and Yerevan in January, 1999, to help facilitate the negotiations, I am convinced that a negotiated settlement is possible,” Djerejian was saying. According to him, it would take strong political will on the part of the leadership of the parties directly involved, and creative and much more active diplomacy on the part of the OSCE members, especially the United States, France and Russia.



According to Djerejian, “there were different approaches which had been discussed and put on the table for discussion during the negotiation process, including some form of ‘free association’ and territorial exchanges.”

“It would indeed be a tragedy if the willingness expressed by the leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan to make a lasting peace coupled with the progress made in recent years during negotiations at different levels should all falter. Even if there is no outbreak of fighting in the near term, the absence of an agreement will have a major negative effect posing an obstacle to the political economic and social development and progress of both Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Djerejian said.



Peter Rosenblatt returned to Yerevan in May 2008 as a member of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) National Board of Governors. Together with AJC Director of Strategic Studies Barry Jacobs, they held meetings with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan to discuss Armenian-American relations, regional issues, and prospects for normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey.

Edward Djerejian visited Yerevan in 2016 and 2017 - as a guest of the Aurora ceremony.



In 2016, Edward Djerejian said in an exclusive interview with Medimax:

“Armenia has a huge bargaining chip in this equation of land, peace, self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. Use it before it’s too late. Azerbaijan is going to make a lot of money out of its oil and gas. It will allow them beef up of its military, defense forces, and at the next war, the Armenians may be at a distinctive disadvantage.

The art of diplomacy is really creating a political landscape where it becomes very difficult for the opposing parties to say no to one another. We did this at Madrid Peace Conference, when I was U.S. Ambassador to Damascus and Hafez al-Assad was the Syrian President. He didn’t want to sit at the table and hold direct negotiations with Israel. He wanted the UN as a buffer, because he felt that Israel was much more powerful than the Arab countries and that without a UN referee the Arabs would be disadvantaged at the negotiating table.

President Bush and Secretary Baker and people like me in the field, my ambassadorial colleagues, we were able to help get al-Assad to decide to direct negotiations with Israel. It was a big breakthrough. The we got the PLO on board, we got Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, we got everyone on board. It took a lot of negotiations. Some people say we pressured everyone, but what we did was we said: “Here’s an alternative scenario. You have guarantees from the United States of America. Upfront you know that you’re not going to lose what you think is vital to your interests. Secretary Baker gave Letters of Assurance to the Israelis, the Syrians, the Jordanians, the Palestinians, etc.



I give you that example because I think something similar is here in Nagorno-Karabakh. The parties now, if you look at it, are really at polar opposites and nobody wants to sit down and negotiate right now. Eventually, they’re going to have to. The sooner, the better. It’s probably going to be some cooling off period now, but that cooling off period should not be allowed to remain too long and the negotiating process should be put in place.”

In May 2017 Edward Djerejian, along with the last U.S. Ambassador to USSR Jack Matlock, delivered speeches at the conference “End of Transition: Armenia 25 years On, Now What?” in Yerevan.

Djerejian stated that establishment of a normal dialogue between Russia and USA was extremely important for Armenia and the settlement of the NK conflict. “Russia is the main player among the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, not USA or France. Russia is the party with the strongest influence in Caucasus,” Djerejian noted.

Ara Tadevosyan

Photos by James Baker Institute, Edgar Barseghyan (100 LIVES) and REUTERS were used in this chapter.


«Modern History» - is the special project of the Mediamax media company. All rights reserved.

Exclusive partner of the project - CJSC «Electric Networks of Armenia».

«Modern History» presents the events and episodes that took place in the Republic of Armenia after 1991.