Armenian Caucus Rallies Congressional Opposition to Increasingly Violent Anti Armenian Rhetoric by Azerbaijan

— Co-Chairmen Urge 141 Members of Caucus to Voice their Concerns in a letter to President Bush

WASHINGTON–DC (ANCA)–Congressmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) this week called on their colleagues in the Armenian Caucus to ask President Bush to publicly condemn Azerbaijan’s war rhetoric and other increasingly bellicose remarks against the Republic of Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated this week–the Caucus Co-chairs documented a series of violent threats on the part of senior Azerbaijan leaders. Citing the dangers of remaining silent in the face of such angry rhetoric–they urged their House colleagues to "join us in signing the attached letter to the President urging him and the Administration to condemn these remarks and call upon the government of Azerbaijan to desist in making any further threats against Armenia and Karabagh." The letter to President Bush stresses that–"efforts to reinforce stability and reduce the risk of conflict are in the best interests of the United States and the region."

The full texts of the Armenian Caucus "Dear Colleague" letter and the actual letter to be sent to President Bush are provided below.

September 22–2004

Azerbaijan’s War Rhetoric against Armenia Threatens Stability and Undermines US Interests

Sign Letter to President Bush

Dear Colleague:

As Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues–we are writing to urge you to sign the attached letter to President Bush imploring him to publicly condemn the ongoing Azerbaijani war rhetoric and other increasingly bellicose remarks made against the Republic of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh. Left unchecked these dangerous commen’s threaten stability in the region.

In July–as reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty–the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman called for Azerbaijan’s takeover of Armenia and removal of its entire population. He said–"In the next 25-30 years there will be no Armenian state in the South Caucasus. This nation has been a nuisance for its neighbors and has no right to live in this region. Present-day Armenia was built on historical Azerbaijani lands. I believe that in 25 to 30 years these territories will once again come under Azerbaijan’s jurisdiction."

President of Azerbaijan–Ilham Aliyev–has repeatedly declared that Azerbaijan could launch a new war in Karabagh. Just two months ago–he stated–"At any moment we must be able to liberate our territories by military means. To achieve this we have everything." Aliyev has directly linked Azerbaijan’s economic progress to its military "superiority."Under these circumstances we cannot react positively to those calling us to compromise."

Given the challenges facing the United States following the seminal events of September 11th and the war in Iraq–these irresponsible statemen’s undermine our short- and long-term policy goals of security–conflict resolution–ensuring open borders and commercial corridors and regional cooperation for the South Caucasus. Furthermore–the Karabagh peace process will achieve nothing if Azerbaijan is allowed to risk war and predict ethnic cleansing with impunity.

To this end–we urge you to join us in signing the attached letter to the President urging him and the Administration to condemn these remarks and call upon the government of Azerbaijan to desist in making any further threats against Armenia and Karabagh. For more information or to co-sign the letter–please contact Craig Albright (5-5802) with Congressman Knollenberg.

Sincerely,

Joe Knollenberg
Member of Congress

Frank Pallone–Jr.
Member of Congress

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