"These elections clearly underscore the de facto independence of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic" WASHINGTON–DC–Over forty members of Congress joined Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) in congratulating Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR) President Arkady Ghoukassian on his successful re-election bid and "enthusiastically applauded the manner in which [the] government conducted the election process," reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)
In an October 24th letter to President Ghoukassian–the House Members stressed that "these elections clearly underscore the de facto independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic," noting that over the past eleven years Nagorno Karabagh has held successful presidential–parliamentary and local elections. "The elected governmen’s have fulfilled their prescribed roles–creating constitutional laws–providing basic social services–and mobilizing an army to secure the safety of its citizens," explained the signatories.
Among the forty-six House members co-signing the letter to President Ghoukassian were Michael Bilirakis (R-FL)–Sherrod Brown (D-OH)–Eric Cantor (R-VA)–Lois Capps (D-CA)–Michael E. Capuano (D-MA)–Jerry F. Costello (D-IL)–Joseph Crowley (D-NY)–Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)–Calvin M. Dooley (D-CA)–Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA)–Chaka Fattah (D-PA)–Mike Ferguson (R-NJ)–Barney Frank (D-MA)–George W. Gekas (R-PA)–Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY)–Joseph M. Hoeffel (D-PA)–Rush D. Holt (D-NJ)–Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD)–Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)–Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH)–James R. Langevin (D-RI)–Barbara Lee (D-CA)–Sander M. Levin (D-MI)–William O. Lipinski (D-IL)–Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA)–Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY)–James P. McGovern (D-MA)–Michael R. McNulty (D-NY)–Robert Menendez (D-NJ)–Constance A. Morella (R-MD)–Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA)–John W. Olver (D-MA)–Frank Pallone Jr (D-CA)–George Radanovich (R-CA)–Lynn N. Rivers (D-MI)–Marge Roukema (R-NJ)–Edward R. Royce (R-CA)–Adam B. Schiff (D-CA)–Rob Simmons (R-CT)–Hilda L. Solis (D-CA)–Mark E. Souder (R-IN)–John E. Sweeney (R-NY)–John F. Tierney (D-MA)–Henry A. Waxman (D-CA)–Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA)–and Albert Russell Wynn (D-MD).
"This Congressional letter is a major recognition of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic’s progress toward democracy," stated NKR Representative in the US Vartan Parseghian. "I thank the co-signers for their appreciation of NKR’s de facto independence and our strong commitment to peace and democracy."On behalf of Armenian Americans across our country–we want to thank Representatives Knollenberg and Pallone and express our appreciation to all our friends in the Armenian Caucus for their letter congratulating the President of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic on the free and fair conduct of the August 11th presidential elections," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "We are encouraged to see so many members of Congress voicing such strong praise for the transparent exercise by the people of Nagorno Karabagh of their democratic right – as the citizens of a fully functioning and independent nation – to popular self-government. These Representatives understand that the people of Nagorno Karabagh fought for – and are now working to preserve – the very same freedom that we enjoy as Americans – the right to live as free citizens under a government of our own choosing," continued Hamparian.
In commenting on the democratic conduct of the elections–the letter noted that–"Free and transparent elections are an essential component of the development of a civil society. The first-hand international and Congressional observer reports that certified the August 11–2002–elections as transparent and freely conducted are to your credit."