GLENDALE—Members of the Los Angeles community gathered at the Glendale Youth Center on Sunday, April 17 to participate in a briefing aimed at increasing awareness about the recent Azeri aggression against the people of Artsakh and the ways the Diaspora can assist the Homeland in these challenging times. The forum was organized by the ARF Shant Student Association and the Armenian Youth Federation’s ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign.
The Permanent Representative of NKR to the United States, Robert Avetisyan, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Artsakh, Artur Aghabegian, joined via Skype and gave reports regarding the situation on the ground and the needs of Artsakh Armenians in the wake of recent events. The forum was followed by a Q&A session, where the attendees had the opportunity to direct questions to Aghabegian.
During his segment, Avetisyan gave a brief overview of the events that unfolded during the Four-Day War and discussed the diplomatic consequences of the Azeri aggression. He mentioned that the reaction of the international community to Azerbaijan’s violation of the ceasefire was rather weak and that many countries demonstrated a position of false parity between the aggressor and the victim. Particularly disappointing was the position of some of Armenia’s allies in the EEU and CSTO, which clearly failed to show the necessary support for their ally, and took steps that can be viewed as openly favoring Azerbaijan.
‘We have warned the international community before that their failure to unequivocally condemn Azerbaijan’s aggressive rhetoric could result in a tragedy. Time has proven that we’re right. It has also proven that Azerbaijan is an unreliable negotiator, and is not interested in finding a peaceful resolution to this conflict,’ Avetisyan mentioned.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic representative also stated that Armenia and Artsakh felt that it was important to take decisive steps in strengthening the ceasefire, including expanding the size of the OSCE monitoring group and installing equipment that helps identify the side that violates the ceasefire. Avetisyan reminded the audience that despite Armenia’s and Artsakh’s calls for such steps in the past, Azerbaijan has consistently opposed them.
Artur Aghabegian, speaking on behalf of the Artsakh government, said that the war demonstrated the ability of the Armenian people to unite around the Army in critical times and consolidate their efforts aimed at protecting our Homeland against the enemy. He spoke about the need for the entire Armenian nation to show support for Artsakh and the soldiers who are fighting on the front lines.
‘We have to make sure that the potential of the entire Armenian nation is being utilized for the benefit of Artsakh, and that includes the financial aspect, alongside the ability to lobby and bring to the attention of the international community the war crimes committed by the Azeri forces against the peaceful Armenian population and the desecration of the bodies of the killed servicemen.’ Aghabegian concluded.
The ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign was re-launched by the Armenian Youth Federation to provide assistance to the families of the soldiers who were killed defending Artsakh during the recent wave of Azeri aggression. The campaign was first initiated in 2012 and provided assistance and treatments to the veterans of the Artsakh Liberation Movement. The Armenian-American community is urged to show its support for this program by visiting www.withoursoldiers.com/donate and making a contribution today.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s Shant Student Association has worked across college and university campuses as well as young Armenian professionals to bring a higher level of political and cultural awareness. ARF Shant strives to mobilize the community at large in furthering the Armenian Cause through political, academic and intellectual means. The work of ARF Shant is also geared towards building strong ties of solidarity with organizations and activists in Armenia in order to achieve genuine freedom and democracy.