State House Calls on U.S. Government to Recognize NKR Independence
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (A.W.)—The Rhode Island House passed a resolution on May 17 calling on the U.S. president and Congress to recognize the independence of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR). The resolution also encouraged the republic’s “continued efforts to develop as a free and independent nation,” and praised Artsakh’s (Karabagh) “constructive involvement with the international community and its efforts to reach a lasting solution to the existing regional problems.” (Read the full text here.)
“I thank the Rhode Island House for passing this resolution in support of Karabagh’s aspirations for freedom, and hope that the legislature’s commitment to our shared values of human rights and justice will set an example for other legislatures in the U.S. and beyond,” said Robert Avetisyan, the Permanent Representative of NKR to the U.S. and Canada.
The resolution was voted on the House floor in the presence of Avetisyan, whom House speaker Gordon Fox (D) warmly welcomed in his introductory remarks. Fox also welcomed a delegation from the local Armenian community accompanying Avetisyan: the chairman of the Armenian Cultural Association of R.I., Hagop Donoyan; the youth advisor to the AYF of R.I., Levon Attarian; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sts. Vartanantz Church, Stephen Elmasian; and a member of the ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee, Ani Haroian.
Dozens of local Armenian Americans filled the gallery of the House during the session.
Almost concurrently, on Capitol Hill, Congressmen James Langevin (D-R.I.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) made statements on the House floor in support of the people of NKR. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), in turn, issued statements.
“It is more important than ever that the United States maintain a principled stand for peace in this region, show that democracy can be born from conflict, and support Nagorno-Karabagh,” said Langevin. “It is my sincerest hope that Nagorno-Karabagh’s right to self-determination can be affirmed without further loss of life.”
“Twenty years ago, the people of Nagorno-Karabagh fought and died for their independence from Soviet Azeri repression and discrimination,” said Cicilline. “I join the people of Nagorno-Karabagh today in recognizing the 20th anniversary of their independence and the formation of the Republic’s Army and the liberation of Shushi.”
Representative Avetisyan continued his meetings in Rhode Island over the next several days, pursuing economic development opportunities for NKR. His visit concluded on May 20 with a community-wide celebration of the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi.