Washington, D.C. - On the anniversary of the November 9, 2020 ceasefire, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) solemnly marks the loss of innocent lives and the genocidal campaign waged against the Armenian people by the Aliyev and Erdogan regimes of Azerbaijan and Turkey. This war is the continuation of their genocidal plan to eliminate the Armenians. The continuing violations of the November 9 ceasefire cannot be allowed to stand. Only the introduction of Russian peacekeepers effectively endorsed by the U.S. is preventing greater slaughter.
For nearly two months in the Fall of 2020, courageous and patriotic Armenians defended their homeland as Azerbaijan and the Turkish military used incendiary weapons, such as cluster bombs and white phosphorus, and strike drones targeting civilian areas, including hospitals and churches as well as vital infrastructure. With approximately 4,000 soldiers and 100 civilians killed, and nearly 11,000 soldiers and volunteers wounded, we mourn the loss of life and extend our deepest condolences to those families who are grappling with the consequences of the horrors unleashed by Presidents Aliyev and Erdogan. In the aftermath of the war, the Assembly, through its nationwide advocacy, championed key priorities on Capitol Hill, from securing humanitarian assistance for the Armenian people and demanding the release and repatriation of Armenian POWs still held in captivity to calling for sanctions and the full enforcement of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act. The use of American equipment in weapons used in the attacks is sanctionable, and we are pleased that responsible United States companies are taking action. The disparity in U.S. military assistance between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the years before the offensive also needs to be remedied, and we thank all who are helping in this regard. The security and safety of the Armenian people remains paramount as a universal human rights issue. It is imperative that the OSCE Minsk Group take a more active role and not just bring the parties together for direct negotiations to find a peaceful and binding resolution to this conflict. Just yesterday, Azerbaijani soldiers shot and killed an Armenian civilian and wounded three others who were repairing water pipes in the outskirts of Stepanakert. This follows another tragic death of an Armenian farmer who was shot dead in Martakert. The ongoing hostilities by Azerbaijan undermine U.S. diplomatic efforts and are in blatant violation of the ceasefire statement. They demonstrate the clear need to enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act. Today, as we mourn the tragic loss of too many lives, we will continue to advance key priorities for the betterment of the Armenian people. We urge the United States to provide much needed humanitarian and development aid, assert its leadership in the OSCE Minsk Group, and stand with the Armenian people and not with the autocratic rulers in Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.