WASHINGTON, DC – In letters sent last week to every Member of Congress, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) responded to the recent escalation of Azerbaijani Embassy’s misinformation campaign by outlining the long-standing United States record in support of Nagorno Karabagh.
In an August 26th memo to Congressional offices, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian explained that, “the Azerbaijan government – on the defensive about its own record on democracy and freedom – is again resorting to misstatements and outright falsehood to advance its agenda.” The ANCA letter came in response to an August 17th letter by Azerbaijani Ambassador Hafez Pashayev, which misrepresented the progress of democracy and free elections Nagorno Karabagh. Erroneous statements in the letter included false assertions that “Nagorno Karabagh was never independent nor a part of Armenia,” as well as untrue charges about Armenian aggression.
The ANCA memo highlighted several key points concerning United States support for Nagorno Karabagh:
* Declassified CIA reports from the seventies, eighties, and
nineties reveal a pattern of official -although confidential-
acknowledgement that Nagorno Karabagh is a historic part
of Armenia. (www.anca.org/docs/cia1-website.pdf)
* In the late 1980’s, the United States welcomed Nagorno
Karabagh’s historic challenge to the Soviet system and its
leadership in sparking democratic movements in the Baltics
and throughout the Soviet empire.
* The U.S. Senate, in November of 1989, adopted S.J.Res.178,
recognizing that “Nagorno-Karabagh has continually
expressed its desire for self-determination and freedom.”
* The U.S. State Department’s representative to the OSCE
“Minsk Group” regularly visits Nagorno Karabagh, which is
an official party to the peace process, and consults with its
democratically elected leaders.
* The U.S. Government, since 1992, has been on record
officially condemning Azerbaijan’s blockades and other uses
of force against both Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh
(Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act).
* The U.S. Government, over Azerbaijan’s protests, has
provided direct humanitarian assistance to Nagorno
Karabagh since 1998.
On August 3rd, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) initiated a Congressional letter to President Bush, drawing attention to “the important progress being made by the people of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Artsakh, towards freedom, peace and prosperity.” This letter, which is currently being gaining signatures during the Congressional recess, notes that, just as, the U.S. champions “freedom for all peoples around the world, we should also continue supporting the aspirations of the people of Artsakh to live in freedom, particularly in the strategically important South Caucasus.”
ANCA chapters and activists have been contacting their legislators over the past month in support of the Congressional letter to President Bush, set to delivered to the White House on September 30th.