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Resolution to recognise independent Nagorno-Karabakh introduced to US Congress

April 25, 2023 at 5:28 pm

136 Turkish soldiers of Special Mine Search and Cleaning teams of Turkish Land Forces Command arrive in Baku, Azerbaijan on December 16, 2020 to take part in the mine cleaning operation in Nagorno-Karabakh after the region was taken from Armenia [Turkish National Defence Ministry – Anadolu Agency]

A resolution to recognise the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh region has been introduced in the United States’ Congress, in commemoration of the Armenian genocide amid rising tensions between Yerevan and Baku.

According to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), Democratic Congressman, Adam Schiff, yesterday introduced a resolution in the US Congress to recognise the independence and self-determination of the Nagorno-Karabakh, which Azerbaijan captured at the end of 2020 from Armenian forces and militias which had occupied it for around three decades.

The resolution stated that Artsakh – 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.”

Condemning the alleged “unprovoked attacks by the Azerbaijani forces on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh”, the resolution calls on Baku “to immediately cease its blockade and aggressions against Armenia and Artsakh without conditions.”

It also calls for the US to cease all foreign and military assistance to Azerbaijan in accordance with the Freedom Support Act’s Section 907, in order “to make clear to the Government of Azerbaijan that further attacks on Armenia and Artsakh will result in sanctions and other measures”, and urged for Washington’s firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia “against Azerbaijan’s military aggression and blatant violations of international laws and norms”.

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Schiff stated, during the introduction of the resolution, that “The United States must recognise 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”.

Schiff’s resolution was backed by two other Democrat congressmen – Congressional Armenian Caucus founding co-Chair, Frank Pallone, and Josh Gottheimer – and was introduced on the occasion of the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

It comes amid rising tensions between Yerevan and Baku in recent months, with Azeri civilians who identified as environmental activists starting to blockade the Lachin Corridor – the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia – and closing it off to all, except Russian peacekeeping forces and Red Cross convoys.

Despite Azerbaijan denying that it had fully blockaded the road, insisting that some convoys and aid were allowed through, Azerbaijani forces set up a new checkpoint on Sunday near the Armenian border at the beginning of the Lachin Corridor.

Yerevan and Moscow have labelled the checkpoint a violation of the November 2020 peace agreement, but Baku has claimed the move is aimed at ending Armenian arms supplies to what it calls a separatist administration. The US, meanwhile, has expressed that it is deeply concerned by the move and has called for free and open movement along the corridor.

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