WASHINGTON—Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) released the following statement on Friday regarding the unprovoked killing of an Armenian soldier, Armen Hovannisyan, by Azeri forces along the border of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Just four days before a meeting scheduled between Azerbaijan’s and Armenia’s Foreign Ministers to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azeri forces have tragically killed yet another Armenian soldier in an unprovoked attack on the Artsakh and Azerbaijan border. As I stated last December when an Armenian soldier was killed, Azerbaijan continues to show that it is not serious about establishing peaceful relations with Artsakh and repeatedly creates obstacles to the peace process.
“Azerbaijan and its forces must be held accountable for these ruthless displays of violence. I have been a longtime advocate for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Karabakh and the recognition of the independent Republic of Karabakh.”
On Wednesday, during an interview with Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian for Horizon Television, Rep. Adam Schiff condemned Hovhannisyan’s death and said that this latest Azeri attack is “unfortunately one in a series of provocative and murderous acts along the line of control, which if not explicitly sanctioned by Aliyev’s administration, certainly is supported implicitly, and this is the real problem.”
“There was recently a meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azeri Foreign Minister expressed support for a peaceful, negotiated resolution. But you can’t say that if you are condoning and permitting the kind of murder and violence along the line of control that they are. When you make a hero out of an ax-murderer like [Ramil] Safarov you are sending a message to your troops that the murder of Armenians, the murder of citizens of Karabakh, is not only acceptable but laudable,” added Schiff.
“If they are serious about a peaceful resolution, they have to prepare their people for peace, and they’re not doing it at all. And if they are going to be this malevolent an actor, the international community really has to speak out strongly. I think we have to stop supporting them and drive home the message that this kind of dangerous, provocative, and fatal conduct is just not going to persist,” said Schiff.
The Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Aram Hamparian commented saying, “On behalf of Armenians from California and across the country, we would like to express our gratitude to Congressmen Sherman and Schiff.”
“The State Department’s policy of “pretend parity” represents, in actuality, a pronounced pro-Baku bias. The failure of the U.S. or the OSCE to meaningfully confront or materially constrain Azerbaijan’s aggression risks allowing President Ilham Aliyev to redefine his escalating pattern of constant, frequently fatal, cross-border attacks as the “new normal. The American answer — and the international response — must be as clear as it is decisive in standing up to Baku’s belligerence. Our Congress can start by zeroing out US military aid to Azerbaijan,” concluded Hamparian