BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Representative Adam Schiff introduced a resolution in Congress on Monday calling for the recognition of Artsakh’s independence and self-determination, while condemning Azerbaijan for its continued aggression against Artsakh and Armenia.
Schiff announced he will introduce the resolution in an exclusive interview with Asbarez on Sunday saying that the measure “would put the United States on record [to] recognize the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh.”
“I am desperately concerned that Azerbaijan is planning another war on Artsakh or on Armenia itself. I think this would be a powerful message to the dictator in Baku that on a bi-partisan basis we are going stand for the people of Artsakh,” Schiff told Asbarez. “We need to end this blockade, we need to end to this unprovoked violence by Azerbaijan.”
“This resolution will signal the United States’ commitment to democratic peoples everywhere and in particular, Artsakh,” Schiff emphasized.
The Democratic Congressman who represents the largest Armenian-American constituency in the county raised the alarm about the worsening humanitarian conditions in Artsakh and warned that it is becoming more dangerous.
“We need to bring attention to this issue. We need to reach out to all members of Congress throughout the country, all the U.S. Senators, to weigh in with the [Biden] Administration,” Schiff said.
“The Administration needs to do more than talk in morally equivalent terms. There is no moral equivalency here. It does no good to call on both sides to refrain from violence and provocation when only one side is a belligerent, and that’s Baku,” emphasized Schiff.
He said that elected officials must hear from the community and their constituents “because we need to amp up the pressure on the Administration to do something for Artsakh. Foreign capitals, as well as our own people, pay attention to what goes on in Congress and where what our priorities are—and what members of Congress are willing to do and say,” Schiff said.
The Congressman said that the resolution “will certainly get attention in Azerbaijan. They need to know that we are going to stand up for Artsakh and their provocations are just accelerating the timetable to recognize Artsakh.”
“At a time when Artsakh’s very existence is threatened every day by Azerbaijan and after more than thirty years of proof that the people of Artsakh have the ability and desire to live in a free and democratic state, this initiative by Congressman Adam Schiff to take a stand recognizing Artsakh’s independence and condemning Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression will send a clear signal to Baku that the status quo is untenable,” Nora Hovsepian, the chair of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region said.
“The ANCA Western Region is grateful to Congressman Schiff for his leadership on this issue and looks forward to continue working with him toward U.S. recognition of Artsakh’s independence through remedial secession as the only way to protect the people of Artsakh from the oppressive Azeri regime,” added Hovsepian.
The language of the resolution:
- Recognizes the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, consistent with the right to self-determination enshrined in various UN instruments and the people of Artsakh’s 1991 vote and decision to declare their independence from Azerbaijan;
- Urges the United States to engage proactively in supporting international recognition of the status of the Republic of Artsakh;
- Condemns the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor and unprovoked attacks by the Azerbaijani forces on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and calls for Azerbaijan to immediately cease its blockade and aggressions against Armenia and Artsakh without conditions;
The resolution also:
- Calls for all United States foreign and military assistance to Azerbaijan to be immediately ceased pursuant to the section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and for the Administration to make clear to the government of Azerbaijan that further attacks on Armenia and Artsakh will result in sanctions and other measures;
- Stands firmly in support of our democratic partner Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and against Azerbaijan’s military aggression and blatant violations of international laws and norms; and
- Supports the United States and international humanitarian assistance programs to meet the urgent needs of victims of Azerbaijani aggression in both Armenia and Artsakh.