FRESNO—The Fresno County Board of Supervisors became the newest target of Azerbaijan’s wrath after the local body passed a resolution recognizing the self-determination of the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and its independence last month.
The Fresno Bee reported Tuesday that Azerbaijan has officially written to the Board of Supervisors urging the body to rescind the April 23 resolution.
Fresno County became the first County in California to officially recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (Artsakh). On April 23, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution sponsored by Supervisor Andreas Borgeas that officially recognizes the Nagorno Karabakh Republic – a region historically and ethnically Armenian situated between Armenia and Azerbaijan – and also calls upon the California Legislature to grant official recognition.
The Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the United States, Robert Avetisyan, commented at the time that “[w]e are grateful for [this] initiative, and hope that the adoption of this Resolution will set a deeper cooperation towards stability, as well as democratic and economic prosperity in our region.” The Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, Grigor Hovhannisian, commented that “[e]very step toward the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a step toward peace and friendly relations in the South Caucasus. I whole-heartedly welcome recognition efforts by community and elected officials, as a continuation of friendly relations and solidarity between the people of the Republic of Artsakh, the Republic of Armenia and Fresno, California.”
“This fuels fighting between the communities,” Azerbaijani Deputy Consul General Ramil Gurbanov, who is based in Los Angeles, told The Fresno Bee on Monday. It doesn’t help achieve “a diplomatic and peaceful solution in the region.”
“We stand with our Armenian friends, both in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh … We will not be muscled by a well-funded lobbying effort by the Azerbaijanis,” said Borgeas told the Fresno Bee, indicating that the Board of Supervisors will not budge from its earlier decision.
Following the passage of the resolution on April 23 Borgeas said, “I am thrilled to stand beside our Armenian friends – here, in Armenia and Artsakh – and hope Sacramento will also officially recognize the independence of NKR. While Fresno County is the first County in California to pass such a resolution, my goal is for this initiative to help inspire more recognition efforts throughout the state, country and eventually Washington, D.C.”
“[T]his resolution by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors is timely, appropriate and significant,” William Bairamian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee – Western Region commented at the time. State legislatures in Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have already passed similar resolutions.