L.A. County Board Condemns Azerbaijan's Military Ops in Armenia


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted today to support a U.S. House of Representatives resolution condemning Azerbaijan's military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh against the Armenian community and denouncing Turkey's interference in the conflict.

Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn recommended sending a letter in support of the bipartisan House Resolution 1165, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo.

“The atrocities in Armenia at the hands of Azerbaijan and Turkey feel too familiar, and we will not stand by while innocent lives are taken and property is destroyed,'' Barger said. “Armenians deserved peace a century ago - - and they deserve it today.''

Barger acknowledged that exact numbers are not available, but cited reports of 300 to 1,000 civilian and military deaths on the Armenia side.

Los Angeles County is home to the nation's largest population of Armenian immigrants, and multiple demonstrations have taken place over the past week against what many call Azerbaijan's aggression against Armenia and Nagorno-Karaabakh, also known as Artsakh.

The mountainous region is controlled by ethnic Armenians but is inside Azerbaijani territory.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in conflicts for years, but the situation escalated in July when Azerbaijan threatened to blow up a nuclear power plant in Armenia.

Azerbaijan officials have accused Armenia of illegally invading and occupying Azerbaijan's sovereign territory.

A temporary ceasefire brokered by Russia last weekend has failed to hold, and more fighting Tuesday resulted in deaths on both sides.

Hahn said the board was required to speak out.

“We have a moral obligation to use our platforms to speak out for the people of the Republic of Artsakh and Armenia and support the Armenian Americans who call Los Angeles County home,'' Hahn said. “We cannot sit idly by as human rights are violated and we will continue to condemn the attacks by the Azerbaijani government, denounce Turkey's reported participation, support a ceasefire and peaceful solutions, while looking at how to support this region as they rebuild when there is peace.''

The House Resolution, co-sponsored by multiple members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation:

-- condemns Azerbaijan's continued military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh and breaches of the cease-fire agreement;

-- denounces Turkey's reported participation in and escalation of the conflict under President Tayyip Erdogan;

-- supports an immediate return to the cease-fire agreement along the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan and a peaceful solution which protects all parties' human rights and joins with other countries supporting the same goals; and

-- reaffirms U.S. support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group efforts to secure an agreement from Azerbaijan to cease offensive military operations against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia and to accept independent third-party monitoring along the line of contact.

An estimated 20,000 or more people marched Sunday from Pan Pacific Park to the Turkish Consulate in Beverly Hills in support of Armenia. The peaceful demonstration drew the support of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“We stand with our brothers and sisters in Armenia and Artsakh and the diaspora in L.A.'' Garcetti tweeted Sunday afternoon. “We welcome the ceasefire and it must be respected. We need our national leadership to step up and help bring peace to the region. Turkey must disengage.''

Nasimi Aghayev, Azerbaijan's consul general to the Western United States, issued a statement Sunday that read in part: “Armenia is bombing our major cities, using even the banned cluster bombs. As a result, 41 Azerbaijani civilians, including three children, have been killed and over 200 Azerbaijani civilians have been injured. Azerbaijan defends itself, its civilians. All the fighting takes place within the borders of Azerbaijan.

“In the early 1990s, Armenia illegally invaded and occupied 20% of Azerbaijan's sovereign territory, expelling 800,000 Azerbaijanis from the occupied regions, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts.

“The United Nations and the United States condemned this illegal occupation and demanded that the Armenian forces withdraw from Azerbaijan. Armenia refused to comply and has kept the territories of Azerbaijan under its illegal military occupation, not allowing 800,000 Azerbaijanis to return to their homes.

“Azerbaijan wants peace. For peace to happen, Armenia must withdraw its armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as demanded by UN, and allow forcibly displaced Azerbaijanis to return to their homes.''

In addition to the ongoing pro-Armenian protests in Los Angeles, the Armenian community has been on the street raising millions of dollars to send back to Armenia and Artsakh as humanitarian aid, according to Maria Mehranian, president of the Glendale-based Armenian Fund. The money includes a $1 million donation to the fund by reality television personality Kim Kardashian West.

Photos: Getty Images