BY LENNA HOVANESSIAN, ESQ.
LAS VEGAS, WASHINGTON—Armenia’s Honorary Consul General Adroushan Armenian, Armenian National Committee of America-Nevada Co-Chairs Lenna Hovanessian, Esq. and Hera Armenian, Esq., as well as UNLV Professor Rafael Oganesyan on Tuesday conducted two separate tele-conference meetings with Nevada Senators Catherine Cortez-Masto and Jacky Rosen. Both Senators included their staff, comprised of national security advisors, district directors, foreign policy advisors and also regional representatives on the call.
The Nevada Armenian-American community’s heightened concern, collective trauma and efforts regarding the September 27 attack and war on Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey was the impetus for the call. The representatives presented a brief history and intent to ethnically cleanse Armenians from their indigenous homelands and the disastrous culmination of the war in the November 10 ceasefire agreement. A vast majority of historic Armenian homeland was ceded to Azerbaijan. United States disengagement and abdication of its peace-keeper role within the OSCE Minsk Group and as an international leader for human rights was also noted.
The extent of war crimes perpetrated by Azerbaijan and Turkey was also covered. Those included the use of illegal cluster bombs, high-tech drones targeting civilian centers, illegal chemical warfare with the use of white phosphorus causing extensive internal and external burns on soldiers and destruction of the environment.
The Armenian representatives also informed the Senators’ about the deployment by Turkey of ISIS jihadi mercenary terrorists in the briefing, with additional details about the state-sponsored inhumane torture, mutilation, and beheading of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians by Azerbaijani forces. The social media publishing by Azerbaijani forces of those gruesome acts was also brought to the attention of the Senators. Both Senators agreed to assist with the immediate release and repatriation of detained POWs and civilians.
The Senators also said they would review Senate Resolutions 754 and 755, resolutions requesting information on Azerbaijan and Turkey’s human rights practices.
Senator Cortez-Masto and Senator Rosen stated that they would contact Senator Menendez’s office regarding intervention, halting of torture and release of Armenian POWs, and if there is a joint letter would consider signing on in support. They also agreed to support the proposal of Senator Robert Menendez’s humanitarian aid package to Armenia for the refugee crisis and post-war economic rebuilding efforts.
Additional items discussed included the repeal of waiver of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act which had provided Azerbaijan an additional $120 million in military aid, as well as the banning of weapons sales to Turkey. Recognition of Artsakh was also brought to the senators’ attention, as well as the geopolitical balance of the region included in the discussion. Both Senator Cortez-Masto and Senator Rosen were highly engaged, interested to conduct a full debriefing and to follow up with the State Department and Senator Menendez. They also indicated a hope for a return to diplomatic engagement with the new Biden administration.