Congressional Karabagh Briefing to Address Escalating Azerbaijani Aggression

Annual Capitol Hill Celebration of Artsakh Freedom Caps Two Days of ANCA Grassroots Pro-Artsakh Advocacy

WASHINGTON—A Capitol Hill celebration of Nagorno-Karabagh’s commitment to freedom and democracy—capping the two-day Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) “Fly-In for #NKPeace”—featured a public call by Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, for a special briefing with U.S. Ambassador James Warlick, the State Department official responsible for the Nagorno-Karabagh peace talks.

Artsakh Republic Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan with ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq., National Board Member Raffi Hamparian, NKR Representative to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan and ANCA-WR Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan

The special briefing comes as a follow-up to the Oct. 26 Congressional letter addressed to Ambassador Warlick, initiated by Royce and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and cosigned by more than 80 House colleagues, outlining three concrete steps to address escalating Karabagh violence, including the removal of snipers from the border, an increase in OSCE monitors, and deployment of a gunfire direction finders.

Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh have both expressed support for these life-saving initiatives; Azerbaijan has not.

“Why are the snipers not pulled back? […] Why have we not deployed those special [gun fire] direction finders?” asked Royce, citing reports of unprecedented Azerbaijani tank fired shelling and high-powered rifle fire, which claimed the life of 24-year-old Garik Gurgen Avanesyan.

Royce concluded his remarks, noting, “I retain hope that one day the people of Nagorno-Karabagh will be able to live in peace, enjoying security and a flourishing trade with its neighbors in the region, and I give thanks to those of you here who are committed to that peace and who are committed to stay engaged to see that that happens.”

Complete video of Royce’s remarks is available on the ANCA YouTube page at:

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) offering remarks at the Artsakh freedom observance on Capitol Hill

“We were pleased to have so many ANCA activists fly in from across America to Washington for this special celebration of Artsakh’s freedom and commitment to peace,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian following the program. “As I said today from the podium, Artsakh is, at its heart, a very American story: the victory of a free people over foreign rule; a people committed to democracy, devoted to freedom, and working for peace—for themselves and all the citizens of the region. It is in this spirit that we recognize Chairman Royce’s principled leadership, thank all those legislators who joined with us today, and welcome Ambassador Warlick’s participation in today’s pro-peace program.”

Hamparian, who joined Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) as masters of ceremony, welcomed Warlick to the program, citing his role as a partner for peace, and an ally in the search for a fair and lasting peace for Nagorno-Karabagh and all the citizens of the region.

Royce, Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Pallone and Dold were joined by House Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Representatives Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), and Dina Titus (D-Nev.), at the annual Capitol Hill Karabagh freedom observance, with featured keynote remarks by Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tigran Sargisyan. His Eminence Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern U.S., offered the invocation and Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan offered the convocation, respectively.

Westbrook, Maine City Councilwoman Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte and ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian chat with OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair, Ambassador James Warlick

Pro-Artsakh advocates from across the U.S. converged in Washington DC on Dec. 8 as part of the “ANCA Fly-In for #NKPeace” initiative—a two-day mission to share a message of peace and democracy with U.S. Senators and Representatives, culminating in the Dec. 9 Capitol Hill observance.

Community leaders from California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, among other states, joined Virginia, Maryland and DC advocates for the two-day marathon of meetings and visits, spotlighting expanded Azerbaijani violence.

Complete coverage of the “ANCA Fly-In for #NKPeace” initiative and Capitol Hill observance will be available in upcoming days.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Congressional Karabagh Briefing to Address Escalating Azerbaijani Aggression

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