четверг, 10 июля 2014 г.

Nagorno Karabakh is a free and democratic state. The Hill

Azerbaijani Consul General Nasimi Aghayev got one thing right in his July 2, 2014, op/ed - the people of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) and the region have been waiting for more than two decades for a long-term, diplomatic resolution of this conflict.  Unfortunately, it has been his employer, the Azerbaijani government of Ilham Aliyev who has declared “Armenians of the world” as Azerbaijan’s “main enemy,” that has been the obstacle to peace.
President Aliyev has brazenly and repeatedly threatened a land grab from neighboring Armenia and as recently as June 28th, at the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) plenary session, President Aliyev made the astounding claim that "the existing Armenian state was created on Azerbaijani lands."
Sadly, he has backed up this angry rhetoric with acts of aggression.  His army's ceasefire violations on the Azerbaijan - Armenia border and the Azerbaijan - Nagorno Karabakh border are increasing - costing lives on both sides.  Both the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh have agreed with a proposal by the U.S. and other OSCE Minsk Group co-Chairs to pull back snipers from the front-lines, but Azerbaijan has vetoed this life-saving proposition.  Baku is also the only party blocking the deployment of additional OSCE ceasefire monitors to the region.
Far from creating an atmosphere for peace, President Aliyev foments anti-Armenian violence and hatred, most notably through the 2012 pardon, promotion and praise of Azerbaijani Lieutenant Ramil Safarov, who brutally axed to death Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan in his sleep during a NATO Partnership for Peace English language training program, held in Hungary in 2004. 
Having endured seven decades of Soviet Azerbaijan's deliberate economic and political discrimination, the people of Artsakh repeatedly and peacefully petitioned for reunification with neighboring Soviet Armenia.  Azerbaijan responded with violence and aggression - with pogromscommitted against its Armenian citizens in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Maragha and Baku from 1988-1990, forcing over 300,000 to flee for their lives, with many finding safe-haven in the United States.  In 1991, Nagorno Karabakh held a democratic referendum, consistent with all then-existing constitution and laws, overwhelmingly voting in favor of independence from Soviet Azerbaijan.
U.S. Congress, for its part, condemned anti-Armenian aggression in 1988, 1989, 1991 and, in 1992, adopted Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, restricting U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, citing its aggression and blockades against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Further, since 1998, the Congress has repeatedly appropriated U.S. assistance to Nagorno Karabakh, sending vital humanitarian aid to the region, most recently funding demining efforts and helping get clean drinking water for families in and around the capital city of Stepanakert.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/211451-nagorno-karabakh-is-a-free-and-democratic-state 

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