"At the heart of this issue is Nagorno Karabagh–a democracy defending itself against a corrupt monarchy that blockades its neighbors and abuses its own citizens."
–ANCA Memo to Congress–August 26–2005
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 Azeri Embassy’s misinformation campaign by outlining the long-standing United States record in support of Mountainous 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 misstatemen’s and outright falsehood to advance its agenda." The ANCA letter came in response to an August 17th letter by Azeri Ambassador Hafez Pashayev–which misrepresented the progress of democracy and free elections in Mountainous Karabagh. Erroneous statemen’s 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 Mountainous Karabagh:
– Declassified CIA reports from the seventies–eighties–and nineties reveal a pattern of official –although confidential-acknowledgment that Mountainous Karabagh is a historic part of Armenia. (www.anca.org/docs/cia1-website.pdf)
– In the late 1980’s–the United States welcomed Mountainous Karabagh’s historic challenge to the Soviet system and its leadership in sparking democratic movemen’s in the Baltics and throughout the Soviet empire.
– The US Senate–in November of 1989–adopted SJ Res 178–recognizing that "Nagorno-Karabagh has continually expressed its desire for self-determination and freedom."
– The US State Department’s representative to the OSCE "Minsk Group" regularly visits Mountainous Karabagh–which is an official party to the peace process–and consults with its democratically elected leaders.
– The US Government–since 1992–has been on record officially condemning Azerbaijan’s blockades and other uses of force against both Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh (Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act).
– The US Government–over Azerbaijan’s protests–has provided direct humanitarian assistance to Mountainous 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 gaining signatures during the Congressional recess–notes that–just as–the US 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.