ADAM SCHIFF: AZERBAIJAN’S CONTINUED WAR-MONGERING THREATENS TO DESTABILIZE THE KARABAKH PEACE TALKS
Beginning on February 27, 1988 and for three days, Azerbaijani
mobs assaulted and killed Armenians,” Rep. Adam Schiff said in his
statement regarding the Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, reports the
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“Hundreds of Armenians were wounded, women and young girls were
brutally raped, and victims of all ages were beaten and tortured and
eventually burned to death. Thousands were driven from their homes
and forced to become refugees. Armenian homes and businesses were
left to be looted and destroyed,” he said.
“In the years that followed this heinous event, Armenians living in
Kirovabad and Baku suffered a similar fate. These pogroms were only
part of a pattern of anti- Armenian activities occurring throughout
Azerbaijan setting the stage for two decades of aggression during
which the Azerbaijani government initiated a war against the people of
Nagorno- Karabakh. Thousands of people lost their lives and hundreds
of thousands of Armenians were displaced as a result of the fighting.
A once thriving population of 450,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan
“A cease-fire agreement, brokered in 1994, remains in place today.
However, Azerbaijan’s continued war-mongering, recent cease-fire
violations, and dramatic increase of its military budget threaten
to destabilize the Nagorno- Karabakh peace talks. In January 2008,
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev warned Armenians living in Nagorno-
Karabakh “We are reinforcing our army because we must be ready to
free our lands . . . at any moment and by any means.” Such rhetoric
is detrimental to the peace process and is further evidence that this
conflict is ongoing and must be resolved. It is my sincerest hope
that a democratic and peaceful resolution can be reached, and Nagorno-
Karabakh s right to self-determination affirmed.”
“This April will mark the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide,
an event the Turkish government, Azerbaijan’s closest ally, goes to
great and tragic lengths to deny. We must not let such crimes against
humanity go unrecognized. Today, let us pause to remember the victims
of the atrocities of the Sumgait pogroms. It is our moral obligation
to condemn crimes of hatred and to remember the victims, in hope that
history will not be repeated,” Mr. Schiff declared.