WASHINGTON, DC — Azerbaijan’s fatal sniper attacks today against the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) highlights the urgent need for U.S. leadership in implementing the common-sense, life-saving proposals being advanced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY) and over 80 of their U.S. House colleagues, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) .
“The cold-blooded killing Thursday night of two Artsakh servicemen by Azerbaijani snipers starkly underscores the urgent need for U.S. leadership in implementing the Royce-Engel proposals – three common-sense, pro-peace measures backed by 85 U.S. Representatives, on a bipartisan basis, to save lives and avert war,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
According to the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry, Azerbaijani snipers killed privates Vahe Vanoyan (born in 1995) and Mikael Torosyan (born in 1996) on the southern borders of Artsakh at 9:00 p.m. local time on Thursday, November 12th. These killings bring the number of Armenian combat related deaths to 33 in 2015 alone.
The ANCA has launched an online grassroots advocacy campaign to Members of Congress, urging legislators to press the Obama Administration for the immediate implementation of the Royce-Engel proposals:
— An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers along the line of contact.
— The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.
— The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.
Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh have both expressed support for these life-saving initiatives; Azerbaijan continues to obstruct their implementation. The complete text of the Royce-Engel letter is available here.
“If you support peace, visit www.anca.org/nkpeace to press for immediate action on the Royce-Engel proposals – which are backed by the U.S., the OSCE, Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, but obstructed by Azerbaijan. And if you can travel to Washington, join with us on December 8th and 9th for Congressional visits and a Capitol Hill program in support of the free, independent and democratic Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s commitment to a fair and enduring peace for its own citizens and all the people of the region,” stated Hamparian.
Friends and supporters of Artsakh can register on the ANCA website at https://anca.org/nkflyin and work with ANCA Regional and Washington, DC staff to coordinate meetings with Senate and House offices and share Artsakh’s commitment to peace and progress in an environment of escalating Azerbaijani aggression. Registration is free; participants are responsible for their travel and lodging.
The Congressional meetings will be topped off by the annual Capitol Hill celebration of Artsakh’s independence, during which participants will be joining Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders, Nagorno Karabakh Government officials and Armenian American community leaders for an evening celebrating Karabakh’s commitment to peace and progress.
More information regarding the Capitol Hill Artsakh commemoration is available on the ANCA Facebook page here.
The ANCA’s December Artsakh advocacy campaign coincides with the 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s destruction of the historic Armenian cemetery located in the southern Nakhichevan region of Djulfa. The cemetery, once home to more than 10,000 intricately carved cross stones (khatchkars), was subjected to sustained attacks throughout the 20th Century. December, 2005, video of Azerbaijani soldiers systematically destroying the last vestiges of these spiritual icons and shipping the rubble from the region by rail is available here.
A review of recent ANCA pro-Artsakh advocacy can be found at: