Azeri Party Protests Congressional Hearing Highlighting Military Aggression

BAKU (Combined Sources)–An Azeri political party has sent a letter of protest to a group of US Congressmen over their positions on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict presented during last week’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on “The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders.”

The letter from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, addressed to Reps. Howard Berman, Joe Knollenberg, Brad Sherman, Adam Schiff, and Frank Pallone, accused the congressmen of lacking objectivity and truth in their statemen’s of concern regarding Azerbaijan’s increasing threats to renew war with neighboring Armenia.

“The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was not approached objectively; statemen’s not corresponding to the truth were made,” the letter read. “We are confident that you and other Congressmen, who made statemen’s of the kind, are aware of the UN Security Council’s resolutions adopted on the conflict.”

The UN resolution referred to in the letter, was in fact an Azeri drafted General Assembly resolution, which called on the international community to recognize what Azerbaijan has come to call its “territorial integrity,” and demanded that “Armenian occupying forces” leave the Armenian Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. The resolution was hastily pushed through the General Assembly by Azerbaijan and its allies and was immediately criticized as one sided by the US, Russian, and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been mediating for a peaceful resolution to the conflict since 1997.

The resolution, which has come as a clear sign of Azerbaijan’s attempts to remove the conflict from international mediation, was deemed by the Minsk Group mediators as a threat to the ongoing peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Ignoring ongoing threats by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to “take Karabakh back by force,” the letter claimed that Armenia’s so-called “aggressive policy” has isolated itself from the region. The letter went on to advise the four congressmen that it would be “more logical” and “right” if they directed their protests against Azerbaijan’s blockade of Armenia at Armenia rather than Azerbaijan.

“I’m deeply concerned by the series of increasingly bellicose statemen’s made over the past year about Nagorno Karabakh by senior Azerbaijani officials, as well as the steady increase in Azerbaijan’s defense budget as that nation acquires more oil wealth. The serious breakdown earlier this year in the 14-year-old cease-fire has been widely blamed on Azerbaijani provocations,” Congressman Howard Berman’said in his remarks during the June 18 House hearing.

Rep. Pallone, during his remarks, noted his concerns regarding Azerbaijan’s increasing pressure on the State Department with respect to U.S.-Nagorno Karabakh relations.

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