LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) challenged Secretary Kerry’s silence on Azerbaijan’s war crimes committed during the April 2-7 attacks on Nagorno Karabakh, confronting him at the Pacific Council on International Policy where he was offering remarks earlier Tuesday.
ANCA Western Region advocates shared their concerns with attendees of the Pacific Council event as well as media sent to cover it, citing that Secretary Kerry, who had met with President Ilham Aliyev just days before his attack on Nagorno Karabakh last week, has stopped short of clearly and unequivocally condemning Azerbaijan’s escalating aggression. “This diplomatic failure has emboldened an increasingly authoritarian Azerbaijan, effectively encouraging its corrupt President to pursue his march toward war, confident that the international community will not stand in his way,” noted the ANCA-WR statement.
Advocates also called for a “Leahy Law” Investigation into reports of brutal attacks on civilians by Aliyev’s forces, including the execution and mutilation of an elderly couple and the torture and beheading of at least three Armenian soldiers.
The complete text of the ANCA Western Region statement distributed at the Pacific Council on International Policy event is below.
Armenian Community Calls on Kerry to Condemn Azerbaijani Attacks
Armenian-American community leaders of Southern California called on of Secretary of State John Kerry to utilize his April 12 visit to Los Angeles to forcefully condemn Azerbaijan’s April 2nd massive military attack on the independent Republic of Nagorno Karabakh and to launch official investigations into atrocities committed against Armenian civilians and confirmed reports of Azerbaijani war crimes, including the mutilation and beheading of corpses and torture of captured and killed soldiers and civilians.
The Kerry Connection: Azerbaijan’s attack, which resulted in scores of deaths, came just days after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Washington, DC with Secretary Kerry and, separately with Vice President Joe Biden. During these meetings, and in the years leading up to this attack, the Obama Administration has consistently failed to confront President Aliyev’s regional aggression, to impose economic sanctions on his regime, or to halt the flow of U.S. military aid to his armed forces.
A Diplomatic Failure: The Obama Administration’s diplomatic failure to confront Aliyev has emboldened his increasingly authoritarian Azerbaijan, effectively “green-lighting” his march toward war, confident that the international community will not stand in his way.
An Intelligence Breakdown: The Obama Administration must address the failure of the U.S. intelligence community to warn Secretary Kerry and Vice President Biden that they were meeting with President Aliyev as he was preparing to launch the largest military attack since the 1994 Nagorno Karabakh cease-fire. Aliyev launched his attack along the entire Line of Contact between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan only hours after leaving U.S.airspace.
The U.S. Response: The Armenian-American community calls on Secretary Kerry to challenge Azerbaijan’s aggression, and take targeted action to promote peace, avert war, and lay the groundwork for a negotiated settlement:
— U.S. recognition of the independent Republic of Nagorno Karabakh
— The suspension of all U.S.military aid to Azerbaijan
— A “Leahy Law” investigation of Azerbaijani war crimes
— U.S. funding for the deployment of gunfire locators along the line-of-contact.
— Emergency U.S. relief and reconstruction aid to Nagorno Karabakh
— A U.S. fact-finding and needs assessment mission to Nagorno Karabakh
A community-wide Candlelight Vigil hosted by the Los Angeles City Council will be heldtonight at Los Angeles CityHall Park at 6:00 pm for all the victims of Azerbaijani President Ilham’s Aliyev’s aggression.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.