Congress Marks Karabakh Movement 10th Anniversary

WASHINGTON–Congressman Frank Pallone (R-NJ)–the Co-Chair of the Armenian Caucus–was joined by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) in marking the 10th anniversary of the national liberation movement of Karabakh–Tuesday.

"This commemoration reminds Congress and the American people of Karabakh’s early leadership in the democratic movement which brought an end to more than seven decades of Soviet rule," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "The history of the past ten years has shown that–despite the best calculations of Stalin’s map-makers–decades of Soviet oppression–and the full force of Azerbaijan’s relentless aggression–the people of Karabakh will struggle to live in freedom–to resist aggression–and to ensure that their children can live–without fear of genocide–on the historic lands of their ancestors."

Throughout the month of February–the ANCA has organized a broad range of local–regional–and national community and political initiatives to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Karabakh movement. Pallone Praises Karabakh for Building a Society Based on Democracy and Human Rights In a statement on the House floor Tuesday–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-chairman Frank Pallone restated his reservations regarding the shortcomings in the OSCE sponsored Karabakh peace talks. "The US-supported negotiating position essentially forces Karabakh to surrender the gains it made on the battlefield with no binding security guarantees in exchange. The Karabakh Armenia’s would once again be at the mercy of Azerbaijan.

"I can’t help but conclude that the lure of the potential oil reserves in the Caspian Sea off the shores of Azerbaijan is influencing our policy in this region."

In a February 20 letter congratulating Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh President Arcade Ghoukassian on the occasion of the Karabakh movement’s 10th anniversary–Rep. Pallone wrote that "seeing the brave people of Artsakh–and the dedicated officials serving in the government and armed forces of the NKR–I was reminded of the founding of my own country–the United States of America. The founders of our nation also had to fight for their independence and international recognition.

"While traveling through the NKR–I was constantly moved by how the people of Artsakh overcame the devastation and horrors of war to establish a society based on democracy and human rights." Rep. Sherman Calls for International Recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Rep. Brad Sherman–a member of the House International Relations Committee and an early architect of legislation calling for direct US assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh–pledged in his remarks to "continue to fight along with the Armenian community in the diaspora for assistance to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and for lasting peace. I am gratified that my original proposals for aid to Nagorno-Karabakh were adopted by my colleagues on the Committee on Appropriations who allocated $12.5 million in US assistance.

"I urge the Administration to move expeditiously to distribute this aid to the needy people of Nagorno-Karabakh."

In a letter to President Ghoukassian sent Tuesday–Rep. Sherman called for the "international community to recognize the legitimate government of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. A long term peace can only be achieved if the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is respected." Rep. McGovern Supports Karabakh’s Efforts to Prevent a Second "Armenian Genocide" First-term Congressman James McGovern–who represents one of the oldest Armenian-American communities in Worcester–Massachusetts–paid tribute to the people of Karabakh–noting that they have "survived and overcome the horrors and destruction of war. For ten years–they have resisted efforts to bring about another Armenian Genocide in the Caucasus. Today–they continue to bravely face the threat of violence and deprivation from their surrounding neighbor Azerbaijan."

Rep. McGovern added that "our own nation was founded on the struggle and hope for a free and democratic nation–free from tyranny–free from oppression–free to determine our own future–free to honor the basic dignity of every human being. As an American–this is my wish for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. That next year will see a free and independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh."

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