Why Are U.S. Ambassadors Apologizing to Azerbaijan?

U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger
U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger

U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger

U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Blames “Aggressive Armenians” for Scuffle at L.A. Protest

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger blamed what he called “aggressive Armenians” for a scuffle that erupted between Armenians and Azerbaijanis on Tuesday during a demonstration organized by the Armenian Youth Federation in front of the Azerbaijani Consulate in Los Angeles.

“There is irrefutable evidence,” Litzenberger said “that the recent provocation in Los Angeles was committed by aggressive Armenian demonstrators.”

He made the comment during a meeting with Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov, according to a report published on Friday in the Azerbaijani News.az, which cited the Foreign Ministry as its source.

According to the news report, Litzenberger expressed his “deep regret” over the incident and added that the leadership of the local Los Angeles law enforcement agencies supposedly offered their apologies for “the Armenian provocation there, as well as for the fact that it could not stop it.”

He assured Khalafov that appropriate measure would be taken against the Armenians and pledged “additional measures to ensure the security of Azerbaijan’s diplomatic missions in the U.S.”

The violent incidents during Tuesday’s protest were provoked by the 25 to 30 Azerbaijanis who had gathered at the consulate with specific intent to disrupt the peaceful demonstration, which was organized to protest Azerbaijan’s brazen attacks on Armenia’s Tavush Province that began on July 12. In fact, the Azerbaijanis began throwing water bottles at the Armenian protesters inciting scuffles, during one of which a L.A. Police sergeant was unwittingly injured.

Comments made by Litzenberger, who was not at the Tuesday’s protest but had decided that “aggressive Armenians” were to blame for the violence, presumably prompted the U.S. embassies in Yerevan and Baku to take the unusual step of issuing a joint announcement that decries violence during stateside protests.

“The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan and the U.S. Embassy in Baku condemn acts of violence as inconsistent with the universal principles of peaceful assembly and protest. The United States takes seriously its obligation to protect diplomatic facilities and is working with local law enforcement to support this effort. Freedom of speech and peaceful assembly are protected by the U.S. Constitution, however, acts of violence will be addressed by law enforcement as appropriate. We call on all demonstrators to engage peacefully and exercise restraint,” said the cryptic announcement.

“Today’s statement by our US ambassadors in Azerbaijan and Armenia – sadly – reflects the flawed false-parity of generic OSCE calls for mutual restraint in the face of clearly one-sided Azerbaijani aggression,” Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday.

Evidently the U.S. embassies in Yerevan and Baku, and specifically Ambassador Litzenberger, are unaware of the violence that has been unleashed against Armenians by Azerbaijanis in different countries around the world. The burning of a vehicle belonging to the Armenian Embassy in Berlin, can be deemed a manifestation of the anti-Armenian hatred, as can beating up Armenians in front of Armenia’s Embassy in London. Where’s the pledge to “ensure the security” of Armenian missions?

United States ambassadors are charged to protect American interests in different countries. Their mission is not to become apologists for the countries where they are stationed nor should they take sides in conflicts that the host country has with another. Furthermore, it falls outside of diplomatic norms to single out a group of American citizens and pit them against another.

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10 Comments

  1. Talin1915 said:

    Litzenberger is nothing but a bought-off State Department lackey, and an incompetent one at that.

  2. ProudtobeAmerican said:

    This “ambassador” is a disgusting disgrace. He wasn’t present, yet knows what happened. That’s a pile of crap.
    I say this as a non-Armenian American.
    If he didn’t get his marching orders from Trump, he should be recalled.
    If he did get his marching orders from Trump, then let Armenians from coast to coast let their voices be heard coast to coast loudly, proudly and peacefully. in this election year.
    Shame on America for this garbage.

  3. Hagop Youssoufian said:

    Litzenberger is a future hack lobbyist for Azerbaijan and Turkey and is obviously interviewing for his next job. It’s astonishing that Mike Pompeo hasn’t fired him yet for the cheap rhetoric and pandering while hiding behind the imprimatur of the United States. Much respect and gratitude to the ANCA for its unrelenting pursuit of the truth. Sending a powerful reminder to all about the brazen attacks by Azerbaijanis against Armenians worldwide is a good start, but Armenians in America should demand much more from government officials. Nancy Pelosi’s tweet is a start. It’s not enough! That same outrage needs to be heard from the house and senate floors, repeatedly, and from every politician.

  4. Vince Kachatorian said:

    You can rarely count on USA to be fully on Armenia’s side.

  5. Nora Bedrossian said:

    Seems that the US ambassadors are being bribed very handsomely by the Azeri government. I can’t think of any other reason why ambassador Litzenberger would place the blame on Armenians and call them aggressors. Further, is ambassador Litzenberger following instructions from Israel.

  6. Barséghian Ardachèce said:

    This is what we call in polite terms “state diplomacy” what we know, invariable, since … 1915 then Lausanne 1923 …

  7. joe said:

    call the US State department with your displeasure…1 (202) 647-6575

  8. Telo & Co. said:

    Everyone please bear in mind that THIS is what we would have to expect if Armenia were to enter the West’s and the US’s orbit at the expense of its relationship with Iran and Russia. We can’t fully rely on Russia (or Iran) for support, either, but they are far more invested than the US is. In the end, we have only ourselves. Remember that! And thank you, Ara Khach, for writing this excellent piece.

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