WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), this morning, dispatched an urgent letter urging U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to forcefully condemn a fatal Azerbaijani attack into the Tavush region of Armenia, a brazen assault launched by Baku to coincide with her arrival for a three day visit to the Caucasus.
The attack, which occurred near the Berdavan and Chinari villages of Tavush, represents the most recent in an escalating series of Azerbaijani assaults on both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. The Armenian Ministry of Defense has reported that three Armenian soldiers were killed and another five wounded in the attack.
“Azerbaijan’s aggression, on the very day of your arrival in the Caucasus, represents, in addition, of course, to a painful human tragedy for those young men who were killed and injured, a brazen attack upon the prospects for a fair and lasting peace in this region,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian in his letter to Secretary Clinton. “It is long past time that the Obama Administration abandon its practice of artificial equivalence – a failed policy whose only response to Azerbaijani aggression and threats of renewed war has been to issue generically-formulated and transparently toothless calls on all parties to refrain from violence.”
The full text of the ANCA letter is provided below and can be viewed at:
Prior to her visit to the region, the ANCA had offered a series of 10 recommendations on how best to enhance U.S. diplomacy in the Caucasus, including a specific call for a clear denunciation of Azerbaijani aggression.
In response to a question from Yerkir Media during a press conference with Armenia Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, Secretary Clinton refrained from properly condemning Azerbaijan’s attack. She will have an opportunity to revisit the issue in Baku on June 6th.
Following her meetings with civil society leaders, Foreign Minister Nalbandyan and President Sargsyan, Secretary Clinton departed Yerevan for meetings in Batoumi, Georgia on Tuesday, June 5th.
FULL TEXT OF ANCA LETTER TO SECRETARY CLINTON
June 4, 2012
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
I am writing today, only hours after an Azerbaijani cross-border attack into the Tavush region of Armenia killed three Armenian soldiers, to call upon you to clearly, publicly and unequivocally condemn this aggression, and, more broadly, to stake out a strong American stand against Baku’s open threats and escalating acts of belligerence against both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Azerbaijan’s aggression, on the very day of your arrival in the Caucasus, represents, in addition, of course, to a painful human tragedy for those young men who were killed and injured, a brazen attack upon the prospects for a fair and lasting peace in this region.
It is long past time that the Obama Administration abandon its practice of artificial equivalence – a failed policy whose only response to Azerbaijani aggression and threats of renewed war has been to issue generically-formulated and transparently toothless calls on all parties to refrain from violence.
It is in this spirit that we call upon you to forcefully criticize Azerbaijan’s aggression during your upcoming visit with President Ilham Aliyev in Baku. We ask, as well, that you give substance to our nation’s condemnation of Baku’s march toward war by suspending all proposed, pending, or future sales or transfers to Azerbaijan of military equipment and dual-use items (including the proposed sale of advanced helicopter-based surveillance equipment – DDTC 12-002). We also request that the Administration immediately enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and decline to waive this provision of law until Azerbaijan has stopped its threats of war, ceased all acts of aggression, and demonstrated a commitment to a lasting peace with Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh through solely non-violent means.
Please accept our thanks for your urgent attention to Azerbaijan’s act of aggression and the potential it holds for even greater violence and regional instability. We remain ready to work with you on this matter, and on all the many issues of special concern to Armenian Americans, and invite you, once again, to meet with the collective leadership of our community to discuss these matters in greater detail.
Kenneth V. Hachikian