Senate Republican Sends Powerful Message of Peace on Sumgait Anniversary
WASHINGTON—Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk “strongly condemned” Azerbaijan’s ongoing threats and violence against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, in a powerfully worded statement issued Friday marking the 26th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian massacres in Sumgait, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
“We join with Armenian Americans, here in Illinois and across America, in thanking Senator Kirk for his principled and powerful stand for peace,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, of Lake Forest, Illinois.
Senator Kirk, who is a senior senate appropriator, began his remarks spotlighting Azerbaijani hate-crimes against Armenians in Sumgait from February 26 to 28, 1988, stating, “I join my Armenian-American constituents in Illinois in commemorating the memory of those who perished in anti-Armenian violence in Sumgait, Soviet Azerbaijan twenty-six years ago. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured during three days of horrific violence. The entire Armenian population of Sumgait fled as a result. The perpetrators of these heinous acts have never been brought to justice.”
The Senator then turned to Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression against Armenia and Artsakh, noting, “As we remember the Sumgait victims, I call on the current Government of Azerbaijan to immediately halt its campaign of incitement and hatred against Armenia that threatens to de-stabilize the region. It is deplorable that the President of Azerbaijan would pardon and glorify the convicted murderer Ramil Safarov, who killed a sleeping Armenian soldier while both were on a NATO Partnership for Peace program. I strongly condemn repeated statements from Azerbaijani officials that threaten violence against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Over the past week, Sen. Kirk was joined by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), fellow Committee colleagues Brad Sherman (D-CA) and David Cicilline (D-RI), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) in issuing similar statements condemning the Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad pogroms and calling on Azerbaijan to end its aggression against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.