Rep. Adam Schiff

Resolution Calling For Recognition Of Nagorno-Karabakh Introduced In US Congress

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WASHINGTON (RFE/RL) — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has introduced a resolution in the United States Congress calling for the recognition of independence and self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the resolution also calls for the condemnation of “unprovoked attacks by the Azerbaijani forces on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”

It emphasizes that the recognition of Artsakh, which is the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh, is “consistent with the right to self-determination enshrined in various United Nations instruments and the people of Artsakh’s 1991 vote and decision to declare their independence from Azerbaijan.”

The document condemns the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor, which is the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, and calls on Baku “to immediately cease its blockade and aggressions against Armenia and Artsakh without conditions.”

The resolution calls for all US foreign and military assistance to Azerbaijan to be immediately ceased pursuant to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act “to make clear to the Government of Azerbaijan that further attacks on Armenia and Artsakh will result in sanctions and other measures.”

The resolution underscores firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia, which is described as a democratic partner of the United States, “against Azerbaijan’s military aggression and blatant violations of international laws and norms.”

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The document also supports United States and international humanitarian assistance programs “to meet the urgent needs of victims of Azerbaijani aggression in both Armenia and Artsakh.”

In introducing the resolution backed by two other democratic congressmen, Congressional Armenian Caucus founding co-Chair Frank Pallone and Josh Gottheimer, Schiff stressed the importance of this move on April 24, the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

“The United States must recognize the right of self-determination of the people of Artsakh, the need for remedial secession, and stop sending support to Azerbaijan. Anything less will only further embolden [Azerbaijani President Ilham] Aliyev in his attempt to annihilate the Armenian people,” he said, as quoted by the ANCA.

The initiative of the US democratic congressman came a day after Azerbaijan announced the installation of a checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin Corridor from Armenia, completing the effective blockade of the breakaway region that was established by a group of Azerbaijanis calling themselves environmental activists back in December.

Authorities in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh denounced the move, saying that it was in violation of the Moscow-brokered 2020 ceasefire agreement that designated the Lachin Corridor along with the ethnic Armenian-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabakh as a sphere of Russian peacekeepers’ deployment. .

Official Moscow on Monday described “unilateral steps” in the Lachin Corridor made in violation of the basic provisions of the tripartite statement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia of November 9, 2020, as “unacceptable”, expressing a hope that “Baku and Yerevan will show political will and will be able to overcome this negative trend in the near future.” The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Moscow is ready to provide all the necessary assistance to Azerbaijan and Armenia “both at the political level and on the ground.”

In separate statements issued on April 23, the United States and France, the two other nations that along with Russia have spearheaded decades-long efforts to broker a solution to the protracted conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, have voiced their concerns about the developments in the Lachin Corridor, saying that an Azerbaijani checkpoint there undermines efforts to establish confidence in the peace process and damages the negotiation process.

The 2020 ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia put an end to a six-week Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh in which nearly 7,000 soldiers were killed on both sides.

The war in which Azerbaijan regained all of the Armenian-controlled areas outside of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as chunks of territory inside the Soviet-era autonomous oblast proper was followed by international efforts to facilitate a peace deal between Yerevan and Baku.

 

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