Rhode Island Lawmakers Condemn Azerbaijani Offensive Against Nagorno Karabakh Republic

(ANCA Rhode Island) We are proud of our Rhode Island lawmakers for standing up against Azerbeijan’s agression towards Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. Thank you Congressman David Cicilline, Congressman Jim Langevin, Senator Jack Reed, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

(ARMENIAN WEEKLY) Rhode Island lawmakers have come forward to condemn the deadly attacks against the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh) by Azerbaijan this month. Members of Congress David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and James Langevin (D-R.I.), as well as—most recently—U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), issued statements.

“I am deeply concerned about the recent escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabagh. These attacks on the Armenian people are completely unacceptable and call into question the sincerity with which Azerbaijan has approached recent peace negotiations. The hostilities must end and both parties should return to the negotiating table to work toward a lasting and sustainable agreement,” said Sen. Reed in a statement.

Reed is a member of the Appropriations Committee—the largest and most powerful committee in the Senate—which authors legislation to fund the federal government and its operations. As a member of the committee, Reed helps allocate funding for all federal agencies and programs each year.

Sen. Whitehouse put out the following statement on April 11 regarding the ongoing crisis in the Nagorno-Karabagh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan:

“The recent violence endangering the lives of Armenian people in Nagorno-Karabagh is a disturbing reminder of the fighting these two sides agreed to end over two decades ago. Over the years, thousands of people have been displaced by the strife in this area. More would surely follow if the escalating violence that we’ve seen over the last two years—and especially in the last two weeks—is allowed to continue. Nobody is allowed to unilaterally revise the status quo through violence. Inflammatory rhetoric from Azerbaijan’s leaders in recent months only serves to undermine the chances for a permanent, negotiated settlement to the conflict, and indications of a pre-planned offensive by Azerbaijani military forces are also troubling. I hope that all parties involved commit themselves to resolving this conflict peacefully, and my thoughts are with those who continue to suffer from violence and insecurity.”

Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, also issued a statement condemning the recent attack against the people of Karabagh by Azerbaijan.

“I am deeply troubled by the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabagh, which threatens not only the security of the Armenian people, but the security of the region as a whole,” the statement read. “This blatant violation of the ceasefire agreement, which resulted in both military and civilian deaths, is not only dangerous; it is reckless. Azerbaijan’s aggressions and rhetoric must be de-escalated immediately so that both parties [to the conflict] can come together to honor the ceasefire agreement and work towards the goal of peace in Nagorno-Karabagh.”

On April 6, House Foreign Affairs Committee Member David Cicilline specifically called out Azerbaijan’s use of sniper fire, “which is in direct violation of the ceasefire agreement and international law.” He said he was “appalled by reports that Azerbaijan forces attacked a Red Cross envoy.”

“I am deeply troubled by the resurgence of fighting in Nagorno-Karabagh and hope Armenia and Azerbaijan can find a resolution to restore peace. I strongly condemn the use of sniper attacks by the Azerbaijani government, which is in direct violation of the cease-fire agreement and international law, and am appalled by reports that Azerbaijan forces attacked a Red Cross envoy. This continued aggression will only bring unrest and risks jeopardizing a cease-fire agreement that was put in place over 20 years ago. As both Presidents Sarkisian and Aliyev prepare to travel to Russia, I hope Azerbaijan will agree to stop these attacks to defuse the escalating violence and prevent the further loss of life,” read the statement.

Photo: (L-R) David Cicilline, Jim Langevin, Jack Reed, Sheldon Whitehouse