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Fifty-Nine Members of Congress Urge President Bush
to Support NKR Aspiration to Live in Freedom

October 3, 2005

On the occasion of the 14th anniversary of Nagorno Karabakh’s independence, over fifty Members of Congress joined with the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), in sending a letter to President Bush, calling attention to “the important progress being made by the people of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Artsakh, towards freedom, peace and prosperity.”

The September 28 letter outlined the difficult road taken by the Artsakh people to secure their freedom and to build a democratic and economically viable country. It went on to cite the parallels in the U.S. and Nagorno Karabakh commitment to freedom and democracy. The congressional letter said, in part: “A de-facto independent state, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is a country of proud citizens committed to the values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. We, as Americans cherish and defend these same values at home and internationally. . . Above all, the Unites States should unequivocally support the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to decide their own future.” The full text of the letter is provided at the end of the release.

“We thank our congressional friends for defending the values of freedom, democracy and prosperity,” said NKR Representative in the United States Vardan Barseghian. “These universal values are dear to the people of Artsakh as we continue building a rule-of-law, democratic country, contributing meaningfully to peace and stability in the strategic South Caucasus region.”

“We call on the United States and other nations to recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, thereby affirming the right of the people of Artsakh to live in freedom without fear of violence, oppression, and persecution,” stressed Barseghian.

The Office of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the United States is based in Washington, DC and works with the U.S. government, academia and the public representing the official policies and interests of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.

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(The following is the full text of the congressional letter sent to President George W. Bush on September 28, 2005)

September 28, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to draw your attention to the important progress being made by the people of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Artsakh, towards freedom, peace and prosperity. The United States has played a critical role in Nagorno Karabakh's progress, offering crucial moral support for the Nagorno Karabakh democracy movement, providing desperately needed humanitarian assistance, and working for peace within the OSCE Minsk Group. As we champion freedom for all peoples around the world, we should also continue supporting the aspirations of people of Artsakh to live in freedom, particularly in the strategically important South Caucasus.

The path to freedom has not been easy for the people of Nagorno Karabakh. Following a peaceful demand by Karabakh's legislative body to reunite the region with Armenia in 1988, Azerbaijan launched an ethnic cleansing campaign against individuals of Armenian decent. As a result, thousands of ethnic Armenians were killed, while some 400,000 fled Azerbaijan to escape killings. On September 2, 1991, the people of Nagorno Karabakh, consistent with the laws in force at the time, declared their independence. The Declaration of Independence noted Azerbaijan's policies of discrimination against the Armenian people, the resultant need to restore friendly relations between Armenian and Azerbaijani people and respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In response, Azerbaijan launched an all-out war against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, which killed thousands, destroyed Nagorno Karabakh's economy and forced some 450,000 Azeries to flee from territories around Nagorno Karabakh. The consequences of a devastating war and an ongoing Azerbaijani blockade have all failed to break Nagorno Karabakh people's determination to live in freedom.

Since their independence, the people of Nagorno Karabakh have steadily progressed on the path of democracy and conducted regular elections, which were praised by international observers as free, fair and transparent. While strengthening its democratic institutions, Nagorno Karabakh has also successfully transitioned from a Soviet-inherited centrally-planned economy to a market economy. Despite significant setbacks, Nagorno Karabakh has largely restored its infrastructure and introduced reforms to encourage private enterprise and foreign investments.

The United States is proud to support a nation whose citizens are eager to enjoy democratic rights and freedoms, develop their economy, and create a better future. The U.S. direct humanitarian assistance to Nagorno Karabakh has contributed significantly to rebuilding Karabakh's war-torn economy. Yet, more needs to be done. Humanitarian assistance to Nagorno Karabakh should be continued and also expanded to include a development component to meet the challenges of Karabakh's fledging market economy.

With its democratically elected government, capable armed forces and an independent foreign policy, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic clearly satisfies the international criteria for statehood. Throughout its 14-year history of independence, Nagorno Karabakh has proven to be a reliable partner of the international community. Nagorno Karabakh has contributed meaningfully to peace and stability in the strategic South Caucasus, a goal the United States shares.

A de facto independent state, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is a country of proud citizens committed to the values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. We, as Americans, cherish and defend these same values at home and internationally. We stood with Nagorno Karabakh when its people challenged the legacy of the Soviet totalitarianism, contributing to the democratization of the former Soviet Union and to the end of the Cold War. This policy should continue through expanded dialogue with the democratically elected leadership of Nagorno Karabakh and an increased U.S. humanitarian and development assistance. And above all, the United States should unequivocally support the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh's to decide their own future.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.



Robert Andrews (D-NJ),
Xavier Becerra (D-CA),
Howard Berman (D-CA),
Michael Bilirakis (R-FL),
Sherrod Brown (D-OH),
Michael Capuano (D-MA),
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA),
Ben Chandler (D-KY), Jim Costa (D-CA),
Jerry Costello (D-IL),
Joseph Crowley (D-NY),
Anna Eshoo (D-CA),
Bob Filner (D-CA),
Barney Frank (D-MA),
Scott Garrett (R-NJ),
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ),
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY),
Rush Holt (D-NJ),
Michael Honda (D-CA),
Steve Israel (D-NY),
Jesse Jackson (D-IL),
Patrick Kennedy (D-RI),
Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI),
Mark Kirk (R-IL),
Barbara Lee (D-CA),
Sander Levin (D-MI),
Nita Lowey (D-NY),
Joe Knollenberg (R-MI),
Stephen Lynch (D-MA),
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY),
Edward Markey (D-MA),
Doris Matsui (D-CA),
Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI),
James McGovern (D-MA),
Michael McNulty (D-NY),
Martin Meehan (D-MA),
Robert Menendez (D-NJ),
Candice Miller (R-MI),
Grace Napolitano (D-CA),
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC),
Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ),
Donald Payne (D-NJ),
George Radanovich (R-CA),
Mike Rogers (R-MI),
Steven Rothman (D-NJ),
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA),
Bobby Rush (D-IL),
Adam Schiff (D-CA),
Joe Schwarz (R-MI),
E. Clay Shaw (R-FL),
Christopher Shays (R-CT),
Brad Sherman (D-CA),
Hilda Solis (D-CA),
Mark Souder (R-IN),
Ted Strickland (D-OH),
Christopher Van Hollen (D-MD),
Peter Visclosky (D-IN),
Anthony Weiner (D-NY),
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

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Please click here for the PDF version of the letter

This material is distributed by the Office of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the USA on behalf of the Government of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. The NKR Office is registered with the U.S. Government under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.


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