WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) denounced Azerbaijan’s latest violation of its ceasefire accord with Nagorno Karabakh, which left two dead and several wounded, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)
The Azerbaijani attack came just days before the 19th anniversary of Karabakh’s independence, celebrated on September 2nd. On June 18th, a similar attack by Azerbaijan, again in the Mardakert region, claimed the lives of five soldiers, making it the worst ceasefire violation in recent memory.
“These provocations by the armed forces of Azerbaijan can not be allowed to continue and I condemn them in the strongest terms,” noted Rep. Pallone, in a statement released earlier today. “I have long been advocating for restricting military aid to Azerbaijan and their recent actions only confirm why the U.S. can not allow our resources be used to provoke regional instability.” Rep. Mark Kirk concurred noting, that “Azerbaijan’s increasingly aggressive behavior in the region must not go unnoticed by the international community and U.S. policymakers. As Baku escalates tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, I strongly urge Secretary Clinton to support additional restrictions on military assistance to Azerbaijan.”
“The Obama Administration’s failure to clearly condemn Azerbaijan’s attacks and threats of war against Nagorno Karabakh have only emboldened the Aliyev regime to escalate cease fire violations and further jeopardize peace negotiations,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We look to Secretary Clinton and the OSCE Minsk Group co-Chair Robert Bradtke to issue a strong statement against Azerbaijan’s latest breach of the cease-fire and take immediate action to ensure U.S. military assistance is not being used against the people of Nagorno Karabakh.”
In a recent letter, Reps. Pallone and Kirk congratulated President Bako Sahakyan on the 19th anniversary of Karabakh’s independence, stating:
“For the past 19 years, Artsakh has firmly demonstrated its commitment to democratic values and has proven to be a reliable partner to the international community. We strongly commend your meaningful contribution to regional stability and remain committed to supporting the restoration of Artsakh’s economy, strengthening its democracy, and promoting continued development and prosperity of your Republic.”
The full text of the letter is provided below.
Text of Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs letter to NKR President Bako Sahakyan
H.E. Bako Sahakyan
President of the Nagomo Karabakh Republic
20th February Street, 3
Dear President Sahakyan:
As co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, we are writing to congratulate you and the people of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) on the 19th anniversary of Independence. This historic day represents an important milestone in Artsakh’s struggle for freedom. On September 2, 1991 the people of Artsakh declared their intention to build a free and democratic state, and have since achieved admirable progress in this mission.
For the past 19 years, Artsakh has firmly demonstrated its commitment to democratic values and has proven to be a reliable partner to the international community. We strongly commend your meaningful contribution to regional stability and remain committed to supporting the restoration of Artsakh’s economy, strengthening its democracy, and promoting continued development and prosperity of your Republic.
We will continue to join you in the call for formal recognition of Artsakh’s independence and look forward to the day when your Republic assumes its rightful place in the community of nations.
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress
MARK STEVEN KIRK
Member of Congress