WASHINGTON—The 19th anniversary of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s independence was marked at a special Capitol Hill program Tuesday featuring Karabakh Parliament speaker Ashot Ghoulian, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The event was organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus in cooperation with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Representation in the U.S., the Armenian Embassy and Armenian American organizations. Congressional Armenian Caucus CoChair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and House Foreign Affairs Committee member Elliot Engel spoke eloquently about the importance of Karabakh’s self-determination. Keynote remarks were provided by Speaker Ashot Ghoulian, followed by Armenian Ambassador Tatoul Markarian.
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) co-chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, Tuesday evening welcomed the attendees to the celebration and congratulated the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on successful and peaceful elections which resulted in Karabakh’s new parliament convening for the first time to choose leadership in June.
“Despite a devastating war and an ongoing Azerbaijani blockade, the people of Nagorno Karabakh have shown they are determined to live in freedom,” said Pallone. They have made steady progress on the path of democracy and tonight we celebrate these significant gains.”
“Strengthening democratic institutions is important in transitioning from a Soviet-inherited, centrally planned economy to a market economy. I’m glad to see these basic pillars of democracy are getting stronger,” added Pallone.
“In Artsakh, we were presented with no other option, but to make a difficult choice between deportation and self-defense. We chose the latter, and forced into a war imposed by Azerbaijan.Consequently, in 1994 the international mediators negotiated a ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh. The peace process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group is still underway. Here, I would like to use the opportunity to thank the United States, which shares with the Russian Federation and France, the international mandate for finding a peaceful solution to the conflict,” said Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Parliament Speaker Ghoulian.
“Today we mark the anniversary of independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. I want to assure you that, just like in 1991, today my people’s aspiration remains unaltered – to live in its Homeland; to live in peace and dignity for the sake of security and prosperity of current and future generations, both of our people and of our neighbors,” he added.
“This is the idea that has been the guiding light for my people for the past 19 years. Persistent and constructive efforts allowed us to build a real democratic state with effective state institutions, which work hard to ensure a self-sufficient economy. The republic of Artsakh, with democratically-elected leadership, has repeatedly proven its viability,” said Ghoulian
“We want to thank the Armenian Caucus for hosting this celebration of Artsakh’s freedom and democracy, and to express our appreciation to Speaker Ghoulian and all those who joined with us in the U.S. Capitol to mark the 19th anniversary of the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“This Congressional event reflects the growing parliamentary and civil society dialogue between America and Artsakh, reinforces our shared values, and advances our common vision of peace for all the peoples of the Caucasus. Sadly, however, this dialogue, has, for far too many years, been artificially held back by outdated and unreasonable restrictions put in place by our Department of State. In the interest of promoting mutual understanding and making progress toward a durable long-term peace, the Administration should immediately lift all its restrictions on contacts and communication between officials of the United States and Nagorno Karabakh.”