By Lusine Aslanyan (@armenianinterns)
July 2, 2015
Last week, the Armenian Assembly of America Terjenian-Thomas summer interns met with the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) Permanent Representative to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan. Avetisyan briefly introduced himself and discussed the NKR office mission here in United States and Canada. He engaged the interns in a broad based dialogue on Karabakh’s regional concerns, the latest attacks by Azerbaijan along the border, and the status of the negotiations.
Robert Avetisyan was appointed Counselor of the NKR Permanent Representation in the United States in 2008. In February 2009 he was appointed to his current post. The primary mission of the NKR office is to promote the republic’s presence in Washington, D.C. The office is actively engaged in a constructive dialogue with US government agencies such as Congress and Department of State. The office also assists the young republic in obtaining educational and informational material from America that will contribute to promoting democracy and efficient state building, as well as help advance legal and economic development in NKR. The presence of the office in the U.S. capital enables the people of NKR to significantly raise awareness of the legal aspects of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and to work on de jure recognition of the independence from Azerbaijan.
During the meeting Robert Avetisyan talked about the Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan pointing out that peace might be achieved according to the situation on the borders for last couple of weeks. He also talked about foreign assistance to Nagorno Karabakh, the history of Artsakh (the Armenian name for NKR), the current political/economic relationship with neighbors, and the possible union of Artsakh and Armenia in the near future.
As an Armenian national, I consider that the existence and the function of the NKR office are exceptionally important for both Armenia and Artsakh. As Robert Avetisyan mentioned during his talk the United States of America is currently the only country in the world that provides direct assistance to Artsakh. This fact illustrates the importance of creating an institution that raises awareness of the situation in Karabakh. On the other hand, Karabakh has yet to be recognized as an independent country by the United States or any other country, including Armenia, which is another objective of the NKR office in the U.S.
An emphasis on education, to the American public and especially the Armenian American community, is also a mission of the NKR office in the U.S. In my experience, a lot of American Armenians know little about Nagorno Karabakh or the threat Karabakh Armenians face of another Azerbaijani invasion. But I believe that young Armenian Americans are the key to helping Karabakh become a recognized state that is independent to determine its own future.
Lusine Aslanyan is an intern with the Office of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Permanent Representative in the U.S. as a participant in the Armenian Assembly of America Terjenian-Thomas Summer Internship Program in Washington, D.C. Lusine is a senior studying Economics at Utah State University.