On the heels of its announcement calling on the Biden Administration to take more decisive steps to prevent a genocide in Artsakh, the Pan Armenian Council of the Western U.S. organized a press conference on Wednesday, during which elected officials demanded United States government action to halt Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of Artsakh and prevent ethnic cleansing of Armenians there.
Speaking that press conference were representatives Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, Democrats of California; Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian; Glendale Mayor Dan Brotman and Glendale City Councilmember Ardashes Ardy Kassakhian, all of whom deplored the Biden Administration’s lack of response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Artsakh that has resulted from Azerbaijan’s more than eight-month-long blockade.
The press conference, which was attended by local news organizations, as well as representatives of the Armenia media, was staged on the recently named Artsakh Square, at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Granville Avenue in Brentwood, in front of the Azerbaijan Consulate General in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles City Councilmemebers Heather Hutt and Traci Park, as well as former California Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian also attended the press conference and were joined by members of Los Angeles-area coalition of groups that has been working with the Armenian National Committee of America-Western on various anti hate-related initiatives.
“I am desperately worried that another genocide may be taking place against the Armenian people. The [Biden] administration needs to act,” said Schiff, who has been a staunch supporter of Artsakh’s right to self determination for decades.
In an impassioned plea to the Biden Administration, Rep. Schiff pointed out that the U.S. has a moral obligation to ensure that the basic humanitarian and rights norms afforded to the people of Artsakh are not taken away by Azerbaijan.
In his remarks, Rep. Sherman said that he will be speaking to Samantha Power, the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, and impress upon her the urgent need for American action in Artsakh.
Sherman said he will call on Power to also deploy U.S. assistance to region, adding that if Azerbaijan is blocking humanitarian aid to enter Artsakh, referring to a convoy of trucks that have been stranded at the mouth of the Lachin Corridor, then the Baku regime must be challenged.
“Let’s see if Aliyev wants to blockade American trucks,” Sherman said.
Krekorian, who led the effort in City Council to establish a Friendship City with Shushi and most recently spearheaded the naming of the intersection infant of the Azerbaijani Consulate as Artsakh Square, explained that his and Mayor Karen Bass’ joint efforts to reach President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have been fallen on deaf ears.
Calling President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan “the butcher of Baku,” and those ensconced in the consulate as his “propagandists,” Krekorian deplored the Biden Administration’s ignoring of the dire situation in Artsakh.
Kassakhian said that the Biden Administration is “picking and choosing” whose cause to undertake under the banner defending human rights, referring to the all-out support the president has demonstrated for Ukraine while the people of Artsakh are experiencing the same level of aggression by Azerbaijan.
All speaker echoed the PAC’s demand calling on the Biden Administration to introduce a resolution in the UN Security Council that would demand Azerbaijan, a UN member, to lift the blockade and end the humanitarian crisis.
They also demanded that all U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan be stopped and the administration continue to uphold the provisions of the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
The press conference was moderated by PAC member Garo Ghazarian, who invited fellow board members Taline Yacoubian and Lena Bozoyan to read the group’s statement issued last week ahead of the United Nations Security Council session that addressed the Artsakh humanitarian crisis.