WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America responded today to a July 17th speech on the House floor by Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) that seriously misrepresented Nagorno Karabakh’s history–status–and right to self-determination.
The Indiana legislator took to the House floor yesterday in an apparent attempt to undermine the growing Congressional support for Nagorno Karabakh – as demonstrated by the successful recent Washington–visit and US Capitol reception for the Parliamentary Speaker and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. Commenting on what he perceived as a pro-Nagorno Karabakh tilt among US legislators–Rep. Burton stressed that: "Any outside influence–any shift in neutrality can only result in a false peace. That is why I am deeply concerned when I hear some of my colleagues throwing barbs at the Azeris and attempting to lay all the blame for this complicated issue at their doorstep."
In a factually incorrect statement–he sought to call into question Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination–asserting that: "So far as I know–the Nagorno-Karabakh region has never been a part of Armenia. To suggest otherwise–and to suggest that the problems in Nagorno-Karabakh are caused solely by Azerbaijan seems to me to distort the facts and potentially undermine our good faith efforts to see this conflict resolved; and to see peace and prosperity come to the people of both Azerbaijan and Armenia."
In a three-page fact sheet sent to every Congressional office–the ANCA challenged Congressman Burton’s inaccurate description of the Nagorno Karabakh issue as well as the biased and counter-productive advice he offered to his House colleagues. The key points addressed in the ANCA document included:
1. Nagorno Karabakh’s commitment to peace
2. Azerbaijan’s threat to regional stability
3. Nagorno Karabakh’s economic growth
4. Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination
5. Nagorno Karabakh’s commitment to democracy
6. Nagorno Karabakh’s pivotal role in ending the Soviet threat to America
In addition–the ANCA provided a one-page update on Azerbaijan’s post-Soviet evolution into an increasingly corrupt and autocratic petro-state–characterized by leaders who seek to bridge the growing gap with their own population by demonizing their Armenian neighbors.