Provided below is a brief listing of key areas of ANCA advocacy in support of the security, status, growth, and development of the independent Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh):
— Direct U.S. Assistance: The U.S., at the urging of the ANCA, has, since FY1997, provided direct aid to Nagorno Karabakh. This appropriation (the only such direct aid provided to Artsakh by any country) was made over the objections of the White House and despite continued strident opposition from Baku. The ANCA presses for continued allocations and the timely allocation of each dollar appropriated by Congress. This aid is presently targeted, in consultation with the Nagorno Karabakh government, to bring clean water to families and to de-mine farmlands in Artsakh’s interior.
— State Level Recognition: The ANCA works with a broad range of official U.S. stakeholders to secure American affirmation, at all levels, for the security and independent status of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. To date, the U.S. states of Maine, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have recognized the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, and Maryland has cited the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh in an official resolution.
— Encouraging U.S. Condemnation of Azerbaijani Aggression: The ANCA is committed to ending the counter-productive U.S. and OSCE pattern of “false parity” and encourage a firm response to Azerbaijan’s ongoing threats and acts of aggression. Progress has been registered on this front, primarily in the wake of the Safarov scandal, as international mediators have shown an increased willingness to criticize specific violations by Azerbaijan of the cease-fire. Members of Congress have played a key role in highlighting both Baku’s aggression and the shortcomings in terms of the U.S. response to Azerbaijani attacks.
— Fighting Military Aid to Azerbaijan: The ANCA continues to press the Administration and to work with Congress to eliminate U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan until it ceases acts and threats of violence, and commits to a purely peaceful resolution. Cutting-off of this aid would not materially harm Azerbaijan’s multi-billion dollar military but would represent a powerful symbol of U.S. opposition to Baku’s acts and threats of aggression.
— Safarov Scandal: Through immediate, targeted outreach, the ANCA helped facilitate rapid U.S. condemnation of the Safarov pardon by President Obama, the State Department, and key Members of Congress, including the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A full listing of official U.S. protests is provided here: http://anca.org/safarov/
— Public Rebuke of White House Khojaly Petition: As a result of targeted ANCA pressure, the White House declined to condemn or even mention Khojaly in its public response to an on-line White House petition that had secured the requisite 100,000 signatures (many from abroad) to trigger an answer from the Obama Administration. The White House’s refusal to engage with Azerbaijan’s false historical narrative represented a public setback for Baku’s effort to enlist the White House in its anti-Armenian campaigns.
— Opposing Anti-Armenian State Level Initiatives: The ANCA seeks, where possible, to block Baku’s well-funded campaign of U.S. state-level anti-Armenian initiatives, including, most recently, in Hawaii, where two publicly debated Azerbaijani-initiated measures were soundly defeated.
— Bryza Nomination: The ANCA helped to block Senate confirmation of President Obama’s nominee to serve as Ambassador to Azerbaijan, due to his anti-Armenian bias and his inappropriately close ties to the Azerbaijani government and Caspian oil interests. This defeat (covered widely by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc.) represented a watershed moment in the push back against undue Azerbaijani influence, sending a powerful message to the State Department and the Washington foreign policy community.
— Capitol Hill Programs: The ANCA has, for more than a decade, worked with relevant Armenian stakeholders in facilitating bipartisan events on Capitol Hill celebrating the freedom of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. A senior Artsakh official speaks at each of these events. The most recent program featured remarks by Congressman Ed Royce, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
— Section 907: The ANCA supports and defends Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act as a legally enacted statement of U.S. policy against Azerbaijan’s aggression and blockades. Although the enforcement of this measure is currently waived by the Obama Administration, Section 907 prohibits assistance to “the Government of Azerbaijan until the President determines, and so reports to the Congress, that the Government of Azerbaijan is taking demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.” The ANCA seeks the full enforcement of Section 907.
— Ensuring Scrutiny of Dual-Use Sales to Azerbaijan: The ANCA works to ensure careful scrutiny regarding the prohibition on the U.S. sale or transfer of potentially dual-use materials to Azerbaijan, including satellites and aerial drones. Our most recent effort in this regard resulted in a year-long delay in U.S. financing for Azerbaijan’s first satellite and the imposition of stringent U.S. restrictions and monitoring requirements.
— Less Snipers/More Observers: The ANCA continues to press the U.S. to prominently criticize Azerbaijan for rejecting two life-saving OSCE-supported initiatives that have been publicly endorsed by the Armenian side, namely the withdrawal of snipers and the deployment of additional OSCE observers. Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh support both of these initiatives, Azerbaijan does not.
— Stepanakert Airport: The ANCA affirms the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to free travel and has worked with Members of Congress to protest Azerbaijani threats to shoot down civilian airplanes using the soon to be opened Stepanakert airport. We counter ill-advised efforts, by the U.S. government or the OSCE, to, in any way, discourage the opening of this transport facility.
— Aliyev Education: As part of a broad-based public education campaign, the ANCA seeks to counter the efforts of the Azerbaijani government to enlist the support of U.S. federal and state level officials in their anti-Armenian initiatives. A key element of this effort is educating U.S. officials about the man behind these campaigns, namely the oil-rich, corrupt dictator of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. (http://www.anca.org/whoisaliyev/)
— Djulfa Desecration: The ANCA continues to press for a thorough U.S. inquiry into the State Department’s failure to adequately protest and investigate the Azerbaijani government’s December 2005 videotaped, systematic desecration and destruction of an ancient Armenian cemetery and thousands of intricately-carved grave stones in Djulfa, Nakhichevan. Due to Senate pressure, two successive U.S. Ambassadors have pledged to visit Djulfa. Both have been publicly blocked from doing so by Baku. The ANCA continues to press for the inclusion of this desecration in the State Department’s human rights and religious freedom reports.
— Sumgait/Baku: Each year, during February and March, we help facilitate official statements by Members of Congress condemning Azerbaijan’s pogroms against Armenians in the cities of Sumgait (February 27-29, 1988), Kirovabad (November 21-27, 1988) and Baku (January 13-19, 1990).
— Madrid Principles: While supporting the OSCE as ongoing platform for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh issue, the ANCA continues to voice serious reservations against the dangers of the presently-formulated Madrid Principles, which demand strategic, up-front, and irrevocable concessions by the Armenian side in return for vague paper promises of future action by Azerbaijan.
— Engagement with the State Department: The ANCA maintains a regular dialogue and open line of communication with White House and State Department officials dealing with the Artsakh issue, ensuring that they understand the Armenian American position in defense of the security and independent status of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.
— Removal of Barriers to Contacts/Communications: The ANCA is working to lower of out-dated and counter-productive barriers to broad-based U.S.-Nagorno Karabakh governmental and civil society communication, exchanges, contacts, travel, and cooperation.
— Artsakh Participation in Peace Process: The ANCA consistently presses for the reinstatement of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh as a full participant in all discussions and deliberations by the OSCE Minsk Group.
— U.S. Ambassadorial Nominations: The Armenian American community’s stand in defense of Nagorno Karabakh and against Azerbaijani aggression have both figured prominently in recent Senate confirmation hearings for U.S. ambassadorial nominees to Azerbaijan.
— Prisoners of War/Captured Armenians: The ANCA continues to track each Armenian imprisoned by Azerbaijan, regularly inquiring about their situation and encouraging their timely release in discussions with the Administration and the Red Cross.
— Challenging State Department’s Accusation of Armenian Occupation: Over the past decade the ANCA has worked consistently, and successfully, for the removal of the word “occupy” from the State Department’s description of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict in its annual human rights report. The current language, while still not yet fully accurate, represents a significant improvement over past text.
— Countering Turkish Interference: The ANCA regularly counters Turkey’s efforts, via the U.S. government and the OSCE, to establish itself as a meaningful player in the Karabakh peace process, despite its clear bias as a political, military, and economic enabler of Azerbaijan.
Update, February 2014
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