*Azeri Ambassador sharply criticizes ANCA in letters to Congressional supporters of the "Caucasus Peace and Stability Act."
WASHINGTON–Azeri Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev–in a series of sharply worded letters sent today to members of Congress–attacked the Armenian National Committee of America for supporting legislation which would impose sanctions on Azerbaijan if it launches renewed attacks on either Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh.
"It is certainly ironic that the ambassador of Azerbaijan–a nation with a disgraceful–decade-long record of blockades and aggression–would so stridently object to legislation which only goes into effect if Azerbaijan launches a renewed military attack on its neighbors," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA.
"His bitter attack against this measure reveals a disturbing lack of commitment to the peace process and–even worse–calls into question Azerbaijan’s willingness to abide by the terms of its cease-fire agreement with Nagorno-Karabakh," he added.
The Caucasus Peace and Stability Act–recently introduced by Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-Calif)–Frank Pallone (D-NJ)–and Jon Fox (R-Penn.)–would–"in the event of Azeri aggression or use of force against Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh," impose restrictions on trade and investment in Azerbaijan–prohibit the sale of any defense related equipment to Azerbaijan–and instruct the US representatives to the World Bank and other international financial institutions to vote against any loans or gran’s to Azerbaijan.
After introducing the bill on Sunday Congressman Sherman’stated–"Azerbaijan must understand that the United States will not tolerate aggression and we will certainly not condone business-as-usual if Azerbaijan launches an attack on Nagorno Karabakh or Armenia. This legislation will serve as an important disincentive to any form of adventurism and will–I believe–deter renewed Azeri aggression."
Full text of the Nov. 12–1997 letter from Azeri Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev to Members of Congress.
Dear Representative: I just had the opportunity to read the press release issued by the Armenian National Committee of America regarding your introduction of the "Caucasus Peace and Stability Act."
One never ceases to be amazed at the brazenness of the ANCA–but this piece of legislation–along with the accompanying press release–must set some kind of precedent. This legislation would come into play "in the event of Azerbaijani aggression or use of force against Armenia or Nagorno Karabakh".
Armenia and its forces currently occupy eight regions of Azerbaijan–including Nagorno-Karabakh–through the very aggression you mention. How can Azerbaijan commit aggression against Armenia when Armenian forces occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijan?
Rather than following the narrow interests of the Armenian diaspora–the Armenian lobbyists in the US should pay more attention to the views of President Levon Ter-Petrosyan–that reflect opinions of Armenia’s living in Armenia. In his recent article published both in Russia and Armenia President Ter-Petrosyan argued for compromise as the best solution to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
President Ter-Petrosyan stated: "Let us not be preoccupied with self-deception and let us not cherish hollow illusions. On the issue of Karabakh’s independence–we have no allies. No one will resolve the present enigma but us. We are the ones who must resolve it–and we will resolve it to the extent our capabilities will allow us. Our only ally is our rejection of adventurism."
From the Lisbon summit last December–in which only Armenia among 54 OSCE member countries refused to support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan–to President Ter-Petrossian’s statement–one can clearly see that the Armenian American diaspora has chosen the path of adventurism.
Frankly–I am sad to see that so many American congressmen blindly follow the lead of such adventurism–when there is so much to be gained by all sides through compromise and mutual accommodation.
Sincerely, Hafiz M. Pashayev Ambassador