WASHINGTON—Members of Congress on Thursday reacted to the recent aggression by Azerbaijan on the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border by issuing statements that call for lasting peace in the region.
Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif) and David Cicilline (D-RI) made statements through their offices or on their social media pages drawing attention to the latest round of cease-fire violations by Azerbaijan.
“For two decades, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have lived with constant threats and sniper fire from Azerbaijan, which seeks to reassert control over the overwhelmingly Armenian population of the region. Last week, Azeri forces again attacked across the Line of Contact, resulting in casualties on both sides. This latest resort to violence must be condemned in the strongest terms, and America should call upon the Azeri government to withdraw its forces and renounce the use of snipers, especially against civilians, and all American military assistance should be suspended until Azerbaijan does so,” said Schiff in a statement.
“Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev plan to meet starting tomorrow, but if their talks are to have any chance of bearing fruit, President Aliyev is going to adopt a sharply different tone from his remarks of late, when he asserted that Azerbaijan had the means to destroy ‘any facility in Nagorno-Karabakh’ and again trumpeted his country’s military prowess,” added Schiff.
“Since breaking free of a regime that encouraged violence and pogroms against its Armenian Christian citizens, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have sought to build democracy and a market economy at home. Baku has responded with an oil-boom funded military build-up and a campaign of bellicose rhetoric and has so imbued its citizens with blood lust against Armenians, that an Azeri army captain who beheaded a sleeping Armenian colleague during a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise was treated as a hero and promoted to major after his transfer from a Hungarian prison in 2012 . Now is the time for the Minsk Group to assert itself in this long-running and increasingly dangerous dispute. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh have the right to determine their own future, free from Azeri threats and violence, and they also have the right to go about their lives without fear of being shot in the back by a sniper,” concluded Schiff, who had also tweeted about the issues earlier in the day.
“I am deeply saddened by the recent reports of escalated violence on the Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia border and the deaths of several Armenian and Azeri soldiers. I am taken aback by Azerbaijan’s attacks on Red Cross staff in a border village in Armenia and Baku’s decision to use sniper rifles in this conflict after several years of respecting the decision by both sides to refrain from doing so. It is my sincere hope that Azerbaijan will abstain from further sniper attacks and instead engage in meaningful resolution talks with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,” stressed Sherman.
“I am deeply troubled by the resurgence of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and hope Armenia and Azerbaijan can find a resolution to restore peace. I strongly condemn the use of sniper attacks by the Azerbaijani government, which is in direct violation of the cease-fire agreement and international law, and am appalled by reports that Azerbaijan forces attacked a Red Cross envoy. This continued aggression will only bring unrest and risks jeopardizing a cease-fire agreement that was put in place over 20 years ago. As both Presidents Sarkisian and Aliyev prepare to travel to Russia, I hope Azerbaijan will agree to stop these attacks to defuse the escalating violence and prevent the further loss of life,” added Cicilline.