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14  Artsakh. Liberated Lands

Rhode Island House calls for Nagorno Karabakh recognition

Rhode Island House calls for Nagorno Karabakh recognition

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Rhode Island House passed a resolution calling on the U.S. President and Congress to recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR), The Armenian Weekly reported.

The resolution also encouraged the republic’s “continued efforts to develop as a free and independent nation,” and praised Artsakh’s “constructive involvement with the international community and its efforts to reach a lasting solution to the existing regional problems.”

“I thank the Rhode Island House for passing this resolution in support of Karabakh’s aspirations for freedom, and hope that the legislature’s commitment to our shared values of human rights and justice will set an example for other legislatures in the U.S. and beyond,” said Robert Avetisyan, the permanent representative of NKR to the U.S. and Canada.

The resolution was voted on the House floor in the presence of Avetisyan, whom House speaker Gordon Fox (D) warmly welcomed in his introductory remarks. Fox also welcomed a delegation from the local Armenian community accompanying Avetisyan: Chairman of the Armenian Cultural Association of R.I. Hagop Donoyan, youth advisor to the AYF of R.I. Levon Attarian, member of the board of trustees of the Sts. Vartanantz Church Stephen Elmasian, and member of the ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee Ani Haroian.

Dozens of local Armenian-Americans filled the gallery of the House during the session. Almost concurrently, on Capitol Hill, Congressmen James Langevin (D-R.I.) and Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) made statements on the House floor in support of the people of NKR. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), in turn, issued statements.

“It is more important than ever that the United States maintain a principled stand for peace in this region, show that democracy can be born from conflict, and support Nagorno Karabakh,” said Langevin. “It is my sincerest hope that Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination can be affirmed without further loss of life.”

“20 years ago, the people of Nagorno Karabakh fought and died for their independence from Soviet Azeri repression and discrimination,” said Cicilline. “I join the people of Nagorno Karabakh today in recognizing the 20th anniversary of their independence and the formation of the Republic’s Army and the liberation of Shushi.”

39  09.05.12 - Shushi liberation and Artsakh army formation 20th anniversary parade
The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan broke out as result of the ethnic cleansing launched by the Azeri authorities in the final years of the Soviet Union. The Karabakh War was fought from 1991 (when the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed) to 1994 (when a ceasefire was sealed by Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan). Most of Nagorno Karabakh and a security zone consisting of 7 regions are now under control of NKR defense army. Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group up till now.

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