Rep. Howard Berman Calls On US Administration To Recognize The Armen

29.02.2012 11:11

“Two of the least noticed and most dangerous trends of recent years
have been Azerbaijan’s rapidly growing military budget and its
increasing bellicosity toward Armenian populated Nagorno- Karabakh,”
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, said, speaking on the House floor.

“Last June, during Azerbaijan s largest military parade since the
Soviet era, President Aliyev vowed to avenge the deaths of Azerbaijani
soldiers killed during the 1988-1994 Nagorno- Karabakh war and declared
that “the war isn’t over yet; only the first stage is over.”

He then boasted that Azerbaijan s defense budget is twenty times
larger than it was just eight years previously and larger, in fact,
than the entire budget of Armenia,” Berman stated.

“It is particularly appropriate that today, February 27 – the
anniversary of the 1988 Azerbaijani pogrom directed against its own
Armenian population in Sumgait – that we commit ourselves to stopping
these ugly threats. Armenian history is drenched in tragedy. Everybody
knows about the Armenian Genocide, even if, sadly, only a minority of
my colleagues has been willing to recognize it officially. But fewer
know about the hundreds of thousands of Armenians murdered under the
Ottoman regime in the nineteenth century. And fewer still, it seems,
know about the pogroms and ethnic cleansing that Armenians living in
Azerbaijan suffered at the hands of Azerbaijanis as the Soviet Union
was breaking up.”

“The Sumgait pogrom that we recall today lasted three days and
resulted in the murder of hundreds of Armenian civilians. Other anti-
Armenian pogroms took place in Kirovobad November 21 27, 1988, and in
the Azerbaijani capital Baku January 13 19, 1990. During this era,
there were media reports of Armenians being hunted down and killed
in their homes. The systematic pattern of all these attacks suggested
that something even more sinister than a mob uprising was at work.”

“Azerbaijan seems bent on destroying every last vestige of the Armenian
presence in Azerbaijan For example, there is videotaped evidence of
the Azerbaijani government’s December 2005 systematic desecration and
destruction of an ancient Armenian cemetery, including thousands of
intricately-carved grave-stones in Djulfa, in a section of Azerbaijan
near the Turkish border. I believe our State Department still has
not adequately examined this incident, and I call on it to do so.”

“Today is a solemn day as we recall this history of murder,
displacement, and destruction, but it is this very history that
underscores the importance of self-determination for Nagorno-
Karabakh. I call on the Administration to press the Azerbaijani
government to cease its bellicose rhetoric and to stop its headlong
rush to war now and to adhere strictly to the principled basis of
the Minsk Process, namely, the search for a peaceful, negotiated
solution for Nagorno- Karabakh I likewise call on the Administration
to redouble its efforts to achieve a solution for Nagorno- Karabakh
And, on this day when we once again reflect on the brutality Armenians
have suffered, and endured, for centuries,” Mr. Berman said, calling
on the Administration to acknowledge history and to recognize the
Armenian Genocide.

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