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Senators Menendez and Booker on the violence along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Written by Monica Yelinyan

Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, the Democratic U.S. senators form New Jersey, have issued a statement condemning the violence on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. They have also stated that they want the US to stop giving military aid to Azerbaijan.

The senators have made the following statement: “We are deeply concerned about the reports of violence along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Azerbaijan, with Turkey's support, has chosen a path of violence instead of the peaceful, negotiated process spearheaded by the OSCE Minsk Group. We urge a stop to the fighting and immediate resumption of peace talks.

“Baku’s recent actions have only exacerbated violence and hindered efforts to reach lasting stability and peaceful end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, forcing us to once again raise serious questions about our current levels of military assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan. Providing nearly $120 million in security assistance to a regime that flouts a peace process co-chaired by the U.S. is absurd. We call on the Trump administration to immediately halt this assistance and fully respect Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.”

Events of the past few days

Azerbaijan attacked Armenia despite the COVID-19 pandemic and UN's Global ceasefire appeal. On 12 July and 13th, Azerbaijan attacked the northern province of Tavush. The fact that the fighting is now taking place near Tavush, along the actual border between the two countries, is worrying. Most of the tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia can be traced back to the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

There were also protest in Baku, Azerbaijan, demanding war against Armenia and a takeover of Yerevan and Shushi also ‘death to Armenians”.

Turkey seems to have sided with Azerbaijan when the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated the following: "the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish people are with Azerbaijan with all our capabilities." The Ministry also reported the following: "Turkey, with all it possesses, will continue to stand by Azerbaijan in its fight to protect its territorial integrity,"

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Armenian claim of Nagorno-Karabakh rests on the argument of self-determination, while the argument of the Azerbaijani government rests on the argument of territorial integrity.

Armenians lived in this area for more than two thousand years. In 1921 Stalin gave the region to Azerbaijan with 90 percent of the inhabitants consisting of Armenians. In 1988, the region was deliberately diluted to 75 percent Armenian by the government's policy of locating Azerbaijanis in the area. Nevertheless, in 1987-88 the inhabitants sent thousands of letters to the Kremlin requesting independence from Azerbaijan. This was motivated by the perestroika policy of Mikhail Gorbachev.

On February 20, 1988, Nagorno-Karabakh adopted a resolution to transfer the administration of Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. This action led to anti-Armenian pogroms in the Azerbaijani city of Sugmait.

On 13 June 1988, the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijani SSR denied the application of the Nagorno-Karabakh Assembly to unite with Armenia. On 15 June, the Supreme Soviet of Armenia approved the proposal of Nagorno-Karabakh.

On 10 December 1991, the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh held a referendum calling for independence, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

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