ANCA Circulated Issue Paper On Karabakh To Congress Members

ANCA CIRCULATED ISSUE PAPER ON KARABAKH TO CONGRESS MEMBERS

Yerkir
13.12.2006 16:56

YEREVAN (YERKIR) – The Armenian National Committee of America
circulated a three-page issue paper to Members of Congress. The
document covers the main points concerning NK, Azerbaijan, and the
peace process.

"The ANCA’s briefing papers provide key insights to Members of Congress
about the core issue at stake in the growing U.S. relationship with
the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh," said Aram Hamparian, Executive
Director of the ANCA.

"Of particular interest to those who follow this issue closely is
the sharp contrast of Nagorno Karabakh’s vibrant democracy, market
reforms, and commitment to a durable peace against Azerbaijan’s slide
into the undemocratic, corrupt and violent patterns of a post-Soviet
petro-state," he said, reported PanARMENIAN.Net.

The full text of the ANCA’s letter.

Nagorno Karabagh: New Constitution

The people of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, on December 10, 2006,
voted in a referendum to adopt a constitution reaffirming their
collective commitment to freedom and marking a major milestone in
this new democracy’s contribution to peace, economic development,
and regional stability.

-Nagorno Karabagh’s commitment to peace

Nagorno Karabagh has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to
negotiating a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict.

Nagorno Karabagh contributes to the efforts of the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to reach a fair and
lasting peace.

-Nagorno Karabagh’s commitment to democracy

A de facto independent state since 1991, Nagorno Karabagh is a country
of proud citizens committed to freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Nagorno Karabagh has held four parliamentary and three presidential
votes – all of which have been praised by international observers as
free and fair.

Even in the face of war and aggression, the people of Nagorno Karabagh
have stood for the same democratic values that we embrace as Americans:

* Free and fair elections * Open press and vibrant public debate *
Human rights and tolerance for diversity

-Nagorno Karabagh’s commitment to free market economic growth

Nagorno Karabagh has transitioned to a vibrant market economy.

Nagorno Karabagh’s GDP has more than doubled in the last four years.

Nagorno Karabagh’s economic growth is broad-based.

-Nagorno Karabagh’s commitment to self-determination.

Nagorno Karabagh is a historic part of the Armenian homeland.

Nagorno Karabagh has never been part of an independent Azerbaijan.

The U.S. government has consistently supported Nagorno Karabagh:

* The U.S. Senate, in November of 1989, adopted S.J.Res.178,
recognizing that "Nagorno-Karabagh has continually expressed its
desire for self-determination and freedom."

* State Department officials regularly visit Stepanakert to meet with
the leaders of Nagorno Karabagh, which is an official party to the OSCE
"Minsk Group" peace process.

* The U.S. Government, since 1992, has been on record officially
condemning Azerbaijan’s blockades against both Armenia and Nagorno
Karabagh (Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act).

* The U.S. Government, over Azerbaijan’s protests, has provided direct
assistance to Nagorno Karabagh since 1998.

Since independence, a new generation of Nagorno Karabagh citizens has
grown up under a democratic government of its own choosing. Allowing
Baku to force Nagorno Karabagh’s free citizens back under an
authoritarian regime – now a hereditary monarchy – would undermine
years of democratic progress and the set back hopes for regional
stability.

-Nagorno Karabagh’s commitment to international peace.

In 1988, the people of Nagorno Karabagh, despite great risks, were the
first to rise up against the Soviet Union, to right Stalin’s wrongs
and to demand their inalienable right to live under a government of
their own choosing.

Nagorno Karabagh played a vital role in sparking the democracy
movement, that helped bring about an end to the Soviet threat to
America and to decades of dictatorial rule over millions in the USSR
and its satellite states.

Azerbaijan’s threat to regional stability Azerbaijan’s threats of
renewed aggression add to regional instability.

Azerbaijan walked away from its agreements at the 2001 Key West Summit,
and undermined prospects for peace at the 2006 Rambouillet Summit. Long
after the collapse of the USSR, Azerbaijan continues to back Joseph
Stalin’s divide-and-conquer gerrymandering of the Caucasus.

Azerbaijan is seeking to impose a neo-Soviet model of foreign rule
over free peoples, which would set the stage for long-term regional
instability.

-Azerbaijan’s ethnic intolerance

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s desecration, in December 2005,
of thousands of Armenian carved stone crosses (khatchkars) in Djulfa,
Nakhichevan was the act of a demagogue – a Slobodan Milosevic of the
Caucasus – who cultivates ethnic hatred to build domestic support.

-Azerbaijan’s transition to autocracy

Azerbaijan has made a post-Soviet transition into an autocratic
petro-state.

With the main source of external revenue flowing through a corrupt
state oil company, the hope for a democratic Azerbaijan has been
eclipsed – setting the stage for the hardening of a corrupt,
authoritarian and nationalist regime.

Azerbaijan’s military budget is a major source of money laundering –
a transit point for the movement of the nation’s wealth into private
hands.

In Azerbaijan, the non-oil economy is dying out, leaving oil exports
as its sole meaningful source of revenue. Oil currently represents
80% of exports and this figure is expected to increase to 95% over
the next ten years. If current trends continue, Azerbaijan will
become increasingly unstable as the regime concentrates on siphoning
off oil revenues, at the expense of domestic needs and democratic
concerns. This is especially dangerous in a state that has transferred
power only through violence or rigged elections.

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