August 7, 2014
Today, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) commented on the latest Azerbaijani aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Congressman Schiff said that “For two decades, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have lived with constant threats and sniper fire from Azerbaijan, which seeks to reassert control over the overwhelmingly Armenian population of the region. Last week, Azeri forces again attacked across the Line of Contact, resulting in casualties on both sides. This latest resort to violence must be condemned in the strongest terms, and America should call upon the Azeri government to withdraw its forces and renounce the use of snipers, especially against civilians, and all American military assistance should be suspended until Azerbaijan does so.
"Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev plan to meet starting tomorrow, but if their talks are to have any chance of bearing fruit, President Aliyev is going to adopt a sharply different tone from his remarks of late, when he asserted that Azerbaijan had the means to destroy ‘any facility in Nagorno-Karabakh’ and again trumpeted his country’s military prowess.
"Since breaking free of a regime that encouraged violence and pogroms against its Armenian Christian citizens, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have sought to build democracy and a market economy at home. Baku has responded with an oil-boom funded military build-up and a campaign of bellicose rhetoric and has so imbued its citizens with blood lust against Armenians, that an Azeri army captain who beheaded a sleeping Armenian colleague during a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise was treated as a hero and promoted to major after his transfer from a Hungarian prison in 2012. Now is the time for the Minsk Group to assert itself in this long-running and increasingly dangerous dispute. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh have the right to determine their own future, free from Azeri threats and violence, and they also have the right to go about their lives without fear of being shot in the back by a sniper.”
Congressman Sherman said: “I am deeply saddened by the recent reports of escalated violence on the Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia border and the deaths of several Armenian and Azeri soldiers. I am taken aback by Azerbaijan’s attacks on Red Cross staff in a border village in Armenia and Baku’s decision to use sniper rifles in this conflict after several years of respecting the decision by both sides to refrain from doing so. It is my sincere hope that Azerbaijan will abstain from further sniper attacks and instead engage in meaningful resolution talks with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”