Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian sponsored a resolution today through which the City of Los Angeles has condemned the brutal and unprovoked invasion launched over the weekend by Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by Council President Nury Martinez, demands that the Trump Administration and the Congress “utilize all diplomatic, economic and political means to compel Azerbaijan to engage meaningfully in the peace process.”
Krekorian’s resolution emphasizes that support for Artsakh is essential to US interests and core American principles. “Because our country is based on and committed to the values of democracy, liberty and the right of self-determination, the United States has a moral obligation to stand up and speak out on behalf of the people of the Republic of Artsakh, who have earned their right of self-governance and have flourished as a free, democratic and sovereign nation for almost 30 years,” the resolution states.
“The world community must condemn Azerbaijan for renewing warfare, violating its ceasefire agreement with Armenia, and causing death and destruction to the Armenian population that it so detests,” Krekorian added. “Its corrupt and autocratic regime is using brute force against civilians in a misguided attempt to reimpose Stalin-era oppression over the indigenous Armenian people of Artsakh in their own ancient homeland.”
In co-sponsoring the resolution, City Council President Nury Martinez said, “Since Saturday, the people of Artsakh have been under attack by Azerbaijan’s military, who have violently and recklessly attacked children and families, causing the loss of innocent lives. The City of Los Angeles stands with the Armenian people and the Republic of Artsakh and denounces Azerbaijan for these vicious attacks and violating a cease-fire that is in place. Today, I joined Councilmember Krekorian and my colleagues in issuing a resolution calling on the White House, Secretary of State and Congress to denounce this attack and work to end it immediately.”
Krekorian noted the strong ties between the City of Los Angeles and the Republic of Artsakh. Through Krekorian’s prior work, Los Angeles recognized Artsakh’s sovereignty in 2014, laying the groundwork for California and other states and cities to follow LA’s lead. In 2012, Krekorian led Los Angeles to establish a historic formal Friendship City relationship with Shushi. More recently, the government of Azerbaijan unsuccessfully attempted to stop Krekorian from hosting Armenian President Pashinyan at Los Angeles City Hall. “The City of Los Angeles has always stood in strong solidarity with the people of Artsakh, recognizing the sovereignty of its people and the democratic values of its government,” Krekorian said.
Krekorian was quick to condemn Azerbaijan on Sunday and provide succinct information about the latest Azerbaijani aggression in a letter to constituents and community members.
Asbarez obtained the letter and is providing in full below.
Yet again, Azerbaijan’s military forces have launched a deadly and unprovoked attack against its Armenian neighbors. Yet again, Azerbaijan’s recklessness puts innocent civilian lives and fundamental United States interests at risk. And yet again, the Armenian people face a genuine threat of the continuation of Turkish efforts to annihilate us.
As you know, last night, Azeri tanks, helicopters and artillery attacked Artsakh, including Stepanakert. This invasion follows the deadly attacks Azerbaijan launched just two months ago against rural villages in Armenia. During a time when the UN has called for ceasefire around the world due to the COVID pandemic, Azerbaijan instead is renewing warfare, violating its ceasefire agreement with Armenia, and causing death and destruction to the Armenian population that it so detests.
LA City Councilman Paul-Krekorian unveles the Los Angeles-Shushi Friendship Square during his visit to Artsakh in 2014
This reckless invasion is a direct threat not only to the Armenian population of the region, but also to regional stability. Already, Turkish dictator Erdogan is threatening Armenia and offering full support to the Azeri invasion. It is not hard to imagine that a full scale war against a country that borders on Turkey, Russia and Iran presents a grave danger to the world. Azerbaijan’s actions create an immediate danger of escalation that would enflame a tinderbox and severely damage US strategic interests in the region.
The corrupt Baku regime’s outrageous warmongering and racist hatred of Armenians seems to know no limits. This attack is just the latest in a consistent record of Azeri barbarity directed at Armenians who just want to go about their lives in peace. The Azeris targeted Armenian civilians with mass murder in the pogroms of 1988 and 1990. They targeted Armenian civilians with indiscriminate shelling during Artsakh’s war of independence. Twenty years ago they destroyed a thousand year old Armenian cemetery at Julfa, ignoring the pleas of UNESCO and desecrating tens of thousands of graves. They celebrated as a hero and rewarded the Azeri soldier who beheaded an Armenian with an axe during a NATO “Partnership for Peace” program in 2004. They targeted Armenian civilian villages and committed shocking war crimes during their 2016 invasion of Artsakh. And now they are engaging in the same kinds of ruthless violence and abomination yet again.
If that were not enough, the bellicose Azerbaijan government recently threatened to launch a missile attack on a nuclear power plant, releasing massive amounts of radiation only 20 miles from Yerevan. The spokesperson for the Azerbaijan Defense Ministry today bragged about their capability of hitting the power plant, which would, as he put it, “lead to a great disaster for Armenia.” This rhetoric is a continuation of Azerbaijan’s repeated threats, including from its famously corrupt and dictatorial president, to destroy and conquer all Armenian lands.
This outrageous and consistent pattern of aggression completely shreds all international norms and notions of human decency. Worse, Azeri violence and threats carry with them the echoes of generations of pan-Turkish commitment to erasing the Armenian population and culture from the world.
The most dramatic manifestation of this lust for ethnic cleansing, of course, was the Armenian Genocide — but the actions, statements and active preparations of Azerbaijan and its enabler Turkey make clear that genocide is a genuine threat in our time as well.
The United States, France and Russia, as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, have attempted for years to mediate a sustainable negotiated peace, but those efforts have utterly failed. Azerbaijan has consistently violated the ceasefire with scores of attacks across the border, resulting in both civilian and military deaths in both Armenia and Artsakh. The United States nonetheless still refuses to state clearly that there is only one perpetrator that continues to be responsible for the violence, bloodshed and instability in the region, and that is Azerbaijan. Any statement of moral equivalence in the face of continued massive violence, aggression and genocidal threats by the government of Azerbaijan is entirely unacceptable. Our government has an obligation to hold Baku accountable for Azerbaijan’s destruction of the peace process and its ongoing crimes and threats.
Unless Azerbaijan immediately faces meaningful consequences and international condemnation, there is little chance of achieving lasting peace. The interests of the United States will be harmed by instability in this vital region, and our reputation in the international community will be irreparably damaged by our failure to stand up and speak out on behalf of the victims of this inexcusable and continuing record of Azeri aggression and violence. And if another genocide of Armenians comes, the nations who failed to stop it will have no excuse for their complicity.
I therefore have called upon the United States government to condemn Azerbaijan unequivocally for its latest violation of the ceasefire, and to demand an immediate and permanent cessation of all Azeri hostile action. I further have called upon the Trump Administration and the United States Congress to take immediate action to cease all military support and cooperation with Azerbaijan, including suspending all arms shipments to Azerbaijan.
Finally, I have called upon the United States Department of State to utilize all diplomatic, economic and political means to compel Azerbaijan to engage meaningfully in the peace process, through the Minsk Group or otherwise, to achieve a sustainable, lasting peace that ensures the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Artsakh.
In solidarity with the people of Artsakh, I remain