Grassroots supporters of Nagorno Karabakh’s search for peace will converge upon Washington, DC on December 8 and 9 for a two-day Capitol Hill advocacy campaign organized by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We are pleased to offer this opportunity for friends of Artsakh across America to come to Washington and encourage our legislative leaders to both stand up to Azerbaijan’s escalating aggression and celebrate Nagorno Karabakh commitment to peace,” said Nora Hovsepian, Chairwoman of the ANCA-Western Region and Stephen Mesrobian, Chairman of the ANCA-Eastern Region. “With Ilham Aliyev recklessly inciting hatred and driving the region toward war, it’s more urgent than ever that voices for peace hold Azerbaijan accountable for its threats and acts of violence.”
The Congressional meetings will be topped off by the annual Capitol Hill celebration of Artsakh’s independence, during which participants will be joining Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders, Nagorno Karabakh Government officials and Armenian American community leaders for an evening celebrating Karabakh’s commitment to peace and progress.
This two-day advocacy campaign comes in the wake of a broad bipartisan Congressional letter spearheaded by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY) and cosigned by over 80 of their House, colleagues calling for three concrete pro-peace steps that would, “in the short-term, save lives and help to avert war.” The steps include an agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers along the line of contact; the placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact; the deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.
Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh have both expressed support for these life-saving initiatives; Azerbaijan has not.
The ANCA’s December Artsakh advocacy campaign coincides with the 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s destruction of the historic Armenian cemetery located in the southern Nakhichevan region of Djulfa. The cemetery, once home to more than 10,000 intricately carved khatchkars, was subjected to sustained attacks throughout the 20th Century.