Mass. Legislature Supports Karabakh Independence
BOSTON—On Aug. 6, the House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts adopted a resolution submitted by State Representative Jonathan Hecht urging “the President and Congress of the USA to support the self-determination and democratic independence of Nagorno-Karabakh,” the office of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the US reported.
In an interview with Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic representative Robert Avetisyan welcomed the adoption of the resolution. “We are confident that the democratic development of Artsakh will not go unnoticed,” he said, underlining the fact that support for “the status of Artsakh as a sovereign and independent nation” continues growing worldwide.
ANCA Eastern Region chair George Aghjayan said, “I wish to thank the Massachusetts legislature for recognizing the recent democratic presidential elections in Nagorno Karabakh and the right to self-determination of the Armenians there. For far too long, the plight of the people of Nagorno Karabakh under the violent aggression from Azerbaijan has been ignored.” He added, “America’s interests are best served by recognizing democracy in Nagorno Karabakh and condemning the terrorism of Azerbaijan. Massachusetts was at the forefront of recognizing Nagorno Karabakh’s independence 20 years ago and reaffirms that again today.”
Aghjayan noted that “the Massachusetts House of Representatives properly understands a simple truth that the State Department has yet to grasp, namely that our federal government’s present policy toward Nagorno Karabakh, were it in force back in 1776, would have, in the name of territorial integrity, pressed the thirteen American colonies to remain part of the British Empire.”
The resolution condemns the killings of Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku and acts of violent repression by Azerbaijan against the peaceful demonstrations for self-determination in Nagorno-Karabakh. The document notes that today also the “Nagorno-Karabakh’s security continues to be threatened by Azerbaijan’s hostile acts.” It notes that despite these continuous acts of violence, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh in a popular referendum on December 10, 1991 voted in support of independence, freedom and democracy.
The resolution also congratulates “Nagorno-Karabakh on the success of its ongoing efforts to develop democracy” and commends the July 19, 2012 presidential elections as “another major step” in this regard.
“We are grateful to Representative Hecht for his crucial leadership in this issue. We also praise our compatriots and longtime supporters James Kalustian and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian for their great dedication and continued efforts in promoting Artsakh’s interests in the United States,” Avetisyan was quoted as saying in a statement released by the NKR office.
A few months ago, on May 17, the Rhode Island House had passed a resolution calling on the U.S. president and Congress to recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR). The resolution also encouraged the republic’s “continued efforts to develop as a free and independent nation,” and praised Artsakh’s (Karabagh) “constructive involvement with the international community and its efforts to reach a lasting solution to the existing regional problems.”