WASHINGTON–DC–In a powerful US House floor speech marking the 18th anniversary of the Azeri massacre of Armenia’s in Sumgait–Azerbaijan–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) called on the US government Tuesday to "flex its geo-political muscle in order to send a message that ethnically charged genocides–illegal blockades of sovereign nations–and the constant harassment of the Armenian people will not be tolerated," reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
"We want to thank Congressman Pallone for reminding his colleagues about the Sumgait massacre and explaining how this atrocity sparked the cycle of Azerbaijani and Turkish aggression against Armenia’s that continues to this day," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "All of us marching today from the Turkish to the Azerbaijani embassies in Washington–DC truly appreciated learning of the Congressman’s powerful words of support and welcomed his stand for a forceful–principled and public US response to Turkey and Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenia policies."
In his remarks–Congressman Pallone explained to his colleagues that–"in late February in 1988 in the town of Sumgait–Azerbaijan–an organized attack on the Armenia’s of the town was carried out by Azerbaijan nationals. This three-day rampage left dozens dead and hundreds injured." He went on to note that–in addition to recognizing this massacre–he wanted to draw the attention of his Congressional colleagues to "the continued Turkish and Azeri aggression against the Armenian people."
Commenting on a series of demonstration organized in Washington–DC and throughout the world by the ANCA and its affiliates–Representative Pallone noted that on Tuesday–"many Armenia’s marked the anniversary of the Sumgait Massacre by organizing a march here in Washington from the Embassy of Turkey to the Embassy of Azerbaijan in order highlight the continued Turkish and Azeri aggression toward the Armenian people." He added that–"as the protesters walked the cold route from the Turkish Embassy to the Azerbaijani Embassy their message should be heard loud and clear. It is time for the United States to do all that it can and to flex its geo-political muscle in order to send a message that ethnically charged genocides–illegal blockades of sovereign nations–and the constant harassment of the Armenian people will not be tolerated."
The New Jersey Congressman also addressed Azerbaijan’s "organized effort to destroy historically sacred Armenian sites," specifically mentioning the "documented video evidencing the systematic destruction of a more than 1000 year-old cemetery and historic carved stone crosses in the southern Nakhichevan region of Julfa." He stressed–as well–Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s economic aggression–noting that–"the over 10-year continued blockade of Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan cuts off a valuable trade route through the country and further isolates Armenia. These blockades have been denounced by the US–United Nations–and the European Union but they still exist as a way to starve the Armenian economy. The United States should do more to encourage the Turkish and Azerbaijani governmen’s to stop their illegal blockade of Armenia."