*"Aliyev Go Home–Dictators Not Welcome," chant Armenian-Americans; visiting president hears message loud and clear
WASHINGTON–Armenian Americans from throughout Virginia–Maryland–and the District of Columbia gathered today along Washington’s famous Embassy Row to protest Azerbaijan’s twelve year blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and ongoing human rights abuses against its own citizens–reported that Armenian National Committee of Greater Washington.
The demonstration took place as Azeri President Haydar Aliyev spoke before an audience of corporate lobbyists–public relations executives–embassy staff and think tank scholars–discussing the Nagorno Karabakh peace process–and impending oil deals in the region. Aliyev made special effort to reassure attendees of the existence of vast Azeri oil reserves–attempting to quell reports questioning the scope of the Caspian energy resources. Aliyev also took the opportunity to again call for the repeal of the ban on US aid to Azerbaijan–commonly referred to as Section 907–despite his country’s violation of this law through its twelve year blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Aliyev’s speech–held at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute of the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nits School of Advanced International Studies–was hosted by SAIS Dean Paul Wolfowitz–who serves as a senior campaign advisor to presidential candidate George W. Bush.
"President Aliyev’s speech at SAIS provided the perfect opportunity for the local Armenian American community to express its ongoing concerns about the blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh as well as that government’s absolute disregard for the basic rights of the people of Artsakh," stated ANC-GW member Lorig Armenian. "As in the past–we will continue to greet President Aliyev in cities he visits across the United States–reminding his business partners and political allies of his human rights violations–corrupt practices–and illegal blockades against his neighbors."
Members of the Armenian National Committee chapter held signs–chanted–and distributed over five hundred flyers outlining Aliyev’s history as a member of the Soviet Politburo and the KGB–as well as his ongoing efforts to crush his political opposition–blockade neighboring Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh–and deny the people of Nagorno Karabakh their right to self-determination. Each flyer and many of the signs held by the demonstrators directed internet users to visit –www.aliyev.com– a website which provides extensive details on Aliyev’s background and present day activities.
Surrounded by heavy security–Aliyev entered and left the lecture hall accompanied by ongoing refrains of "Aliyev Go Home,"No Blood for Oil," and "Karabakh is Armenian." A six foot long banner urged major oil company executives in attendance to "Stop Funding Brutal Dictators. "Aliyev acknowledged protesters by waving to them on his way into the building. On his way out–he walked with his entourage past his waiting car to the curb in order to take a closer look at the demonstrators.