WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to the United States Robert Avetisyan will be his guest at President Joseph R. Biden’s State of the Union address.
In September 2020, Azerbaijan launched a brutal military offensive against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, also known as Artsakh, that left thousands of Armenians dead. After purportedly agreeing to a ceasefire, Azerbaijan then laid siege to the region by blocking the Lachin corridor – preventing humanitarian aid, basic supplies, and outside support from reaching roughly 120,000 civilians there. Schiff has closely monitored this crisis since its beginning and has been in constant touch with the Biden administration, the State Department, USAID, and partners in the Armenian community about ongoing developments and how he can best advocate for Artsakh’s needs in Congress.
“The humanitarian crisis in Artsakh grows direr by the day, with widespread shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities, rolling blackouts amid freezing winter temperatures, and tens of thousands of people cut off from their families, loved ones, and livelihoods. Families and children are suffering, and the United States must take decisive action to assist them. I hope Armenians, members of the Armenia diaspora in the United States, and the world – and yes, President Biden and the U.S. State Department – will see Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to the United States Robert Avetisyan’s attendance at the State of the Union as a strong signal that Congress will never stop advocating for peace for the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh,” said Schiff. “I will always stand with the people of Armenia and Artsakh and thank Avetisyan for bringing attention to this human suffering and humanitarian disaster, and I call on the President and the United States to use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to ensure the safety of the people of Artsakh amid the growing crisis in the region.”
Immediately after the blockade escalated, Schiff and his colleagues wrote a letter to President Biden urging his administration to use all the tools at its disposal to help ensure Artsakh’s safety – now and in the future – including by immediately and permanently ceasing all assistance to Azerbaijan and imposing sanctions.
Avetisyan has served as the Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic since 2009. Previously he held several roles in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday at 6 pm PT/9 pm ET.