BREA, Calif.—Local Armenian National Committee of America activists met with US Representative Gary Miller (CA-42-R) this past Tuesday in his Brea, CA district office. Leading the meeting were Razmig Khayalian, a board member with the ANCA Orange County Chapter as well as Serouj Aprahamian and John Havoonjian, constituents of the Congressman. Joining them for the meeting were Jennifer Movsessian and Haig Hovsepian from the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region office.
Aprahamian and his fellow north county activists covered a range of issues including US-Armenia relations, recent developments in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, and US recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Aprahamian reminded the Congressman of Nagorno Karabakh’s continued fight for self-determination and strong democratic credentials. He also noted that the Azerbaijani government continued its threats of war and recently launched a military attack against Nagorno Karabakh which was rebuffed. The Azeri war mongering comes in spite of international calls for and Nagorno Karabakh’s steadfast commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The meeting attendees also discussed the destruction of the medieval Armenian cemetery in Julfa. The cemetery was home to over a thousand intricately carved stone crosses and is considered a cultural landmark. Azerbaijani troops were filmed destroying and removing the pieces of the crosses on flatbed transports starting in the late 1980s and culminating in 2006. To date, Azerbaijan has denied the existence of the cemetery or that there was ever an Armenian presence in the area. The government of Azerbaijan refuses to let the European Parliament inspect the site.
The issue remains a sticking point and is one of many actions highlighting Azerbaijan’s ongoing efforts to ethnically cleanse its Armenian population and cultural heritage. The Julfa cemetery issue was also recently the subject of Senate hearing questions posed to Matthew Bryza, the nominee to serve as the next US Ambassador to Azerbaijan.
Khayalian noted Armenia’s continued support of coalition efforts including its deployment of troops to peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He and Havoonjian also called on the Congressman to urge members of his own party, especially its leadership to stand strong for US recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
“It was great meeting with Congressman Miller and his District Director, Mr. Thornton to update him on Armenian American issues,” noted Aprahamian. “It was important that we had this opportunity to remind him that his constituents look to him to continue to be at the forefront of issues of concern to the community.”
The Armenian National Committee of America-Orange County Chapter is a grassroots, advocacy organization advancing issues of concern to the area’s Armenian American community as well as promoting the community’s civic engagement at the local, state, and federal level