By Danielle Saroyan
Armenian Agenda Associate Editor
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, 59 Armenian American organizations urged President Obama to “forcefully condemn Azerbaijan’s aggression” and called for the U.S. to lead the way for “peace and long-term regional stability” in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
Below is the letter written by the Armenian American Community to President Obama:
April 8, 2016
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Armenian Americans from across our nation ask you, in light of the worst Azerbaijani attacks since the 1994 Nagorno Karabakh cease-fire, to forcefully condemn Azerbaijan’s aggression and – in light of Baku’s reckless initiation of hostilities only hours after meeting in Washington, DC with senior members of your Administration – call for principled American leadership for peace and long-term regional stability.
In view of the renewed hostilities by Azerbaijan, which undermine our nation’s regional interests, and taking into consideration President Aliyev’s open threats to continue and further expand aggression against Nagorno Karabakh, we express our full support for the courageous efforts of the people and governments of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh to protect their citizens and encourage the U.S. government to support the self-defense of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. We commend, as well, the formal recognition of the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic by the U.S. states of California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. President Aliyev’s actions, which represent a direct challenge to U.S. leadership for a negotiated resolution and grave threat to the peace of the entire region, require a strong American response.
In the interest of peace, we call upon you to immediately stop all military aid to Azerbaijan, and enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act. We also encourage you to work with Armenia and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic on the deployment of gunfire locator and other monitoring systems on the Nagorno Karabakh side of the line-of-contact and the Armenian side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
Mr. President, in keeping with the humanitarian spirit of the American people, we urge you to immediately send emergency relief aid to Nagorno Karabakh, including medical equipment and other urgently-needed relief supplies. We are reminded, during this dark time, that it was the generosity of the American people, through the noble work of USAID, that helped rebuild Martakert and Martuni following Baku’s 1991-94 aggression, two of the same communities that have come under heavy Azerbaijani fire.
In closing, we encourage you to send a multi-agency fact-finding mission – led by our Department of State – to thoroughly investigate serious reports of Azerbaijani war crimes and other violations of the Hague Convention, to look into allegations that Azerbaijan has engaged ISIS fighters, to evaluate the destruction inflicted by Azerbaijan’s aggression, and to assess the humanitarian relief and reconstruction needs of Nagorno Karabakh’s civilian population.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
All-Armenian Student Association
Americans for Artsakh
Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics
Armenia Artsakh Fund
Armenia Tree Project
Armenian Aintabtzy Cultural Association
Armenian American Democratic Leadership Council
Armenian American Veterans
Armenian Assembly of America
Armenian Bar Association
Armenian Compatriotic Union of Ourfa
Armenian Council of America
Armenian Democratic Liberal Party
Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America
Armenian Evangelical Union of North America
Armenian General Athletic Union (HMEM) – Eastern Region
Armenian General Athletic Union (HMEM) – Western Region
Armenian General Benevolent Union
Armenian General Benevolent Union – Western District
Armenian International Women’s Association
Armenian Missionary Association of America
Armenian National Committee of America
Armenian National Committee of America – Eastern Region
Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region
Armenian Relief Society – Eastern Region
Armenian Relief Society – Western Region
Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Eastern Region
Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Western Region
ARF Shant Student Association
Armenian Rights Council of America
Armenian Society of Los Angeles
Armenian Youth Federation – Eastern Region
Armenian Youth Federation – Western Region
Artsakh Development Group
Daughters of Vartan
Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – Eastern Region
Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – Western Region
Friends of New Julfa
Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society – Eastern Region
Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society – Western Region
Iraqi Armenian Family Association
Kharpert Cultural Association
Knights of Vartan
Memory, Dignity, Justice Association of Armenian Refugees from Azerbaijan
Mousa Ler Association of California – Los Angeles
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research
National Organization of Republican Armenians
Organization of Istanbul Armenians
Paros Foundation (Berkeley, California)
Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – Eastern Region
Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – Western Region
Social Democrat Hunchagian Party
Tekeyan Cultural Association, Inc.
United Armenian Council of Los Angeles
United Human Rights Council