Saying California is home to a vibrant Armenian community that is proud to condemn injustice, civil rights abuses and human rights violations, state Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R- Fresno) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the United States to stand with the Republic of Artsakh and preserve peace in the region.
Armenia accused Azerbaijan on Thursday of shelling a historic cathedral in the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where nearly two weeks of heavy fighting has killed hundreds of people.
The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and marks the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
Following a series of calls with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday proposed a cease-fire to allow the parties to exchange prisoners and collect the bodies of those killed.
California’s Bi-Partisan Message
Senator Borgeas joined with other members of the State Legislature including state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D – Sanger) in writing the letter.
Part of the letter reads:
“With over 1,900 casualties which include civilians and servicemen and thousands injured amongst them, we respectfully call on the administration to take the following actions:
- Condemn Azerbaijan’s aggression towards the republic of Artsakh which adversely affects security in the region.
- Urge Azerbaijan to allow international OSCE monitoring, immediately end all hostility and negotiate a permanent and lasting peace.
- Cease all U.S. economic or other assistance to Azerbaijan.
We ask the Administration and U.S. State Department to be more proactive in preserving peace in the region.”
Borgeas hosted an online video discussion about the conflict on Thursday. He was joined by Robert Avetisyan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Artsakh to the United States, and Berj Apkarian, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Fresno. Borgeas said the purpose of the discussion was to provide a historical overview of Armenia and Artsakh as well as examine the current conflict.
Watch: Armenia – Artsakh Discussion
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)