The following remarks were made by Levon Baronian on Friday, December 16 at a protest organized by the Armenian Youth Federation in front of the Azerbaijani Consulate in Los Angeles
While we are all assembled here in front of the Azerbaijani Consul General’s office, I’d like to make one thing extremely clear. We’re not here to appeal to the Azerbaijani government to reopen the road between Armenia and Artsakh or to stop impeding the flow of natural gas to Artsakh’s population. As I’m sure every single one of us understands, that’s a futile and useless exercise. Because Azerbaijan has demonstrated repeatedly that it has no concern for basic human rights. Azerbaijan not only continuously violates the basic human rights of Armenians in Artsakh and Armenia, but also its own Azerbaijani citizens on a daily basis. This is one of the primary reasons why Artsakh can never be a part of Azerbaijan and why Artsakh declared its independence 30 years ago, in accordance with one of the most fundamental rights outlined in the United Nations Charter, the right to self-determination.
Azerbaijan’s primary geo-political objective in the region is to ethnically cleanse Armenians from their historical lands, not only in Artsakh, but in Armenia as well. For nearly thirty years, the Republic of Armenia was the guarantor of Artsakh’s security. Unfortunately, in recent years the government in Armenia no longer views Artsakh’s security as Armenia’s responsibility and has left the fate of Artsakh and its indigenous inhabitants to a couple thousand Russian peace-keepers deployed to the region after the declaration signed by Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Aliyev’s President Ilham Aliyev, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
While the complete details of this arrangement agreed upon by Armenia’s Prime Minister Pashinyan are still not known to the general public, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Russian peacekeeping contingent has not been given a mandate by the signed and verbal agreements to use force to deter Azerbaijan’s transgressions against Artsakh.
This leaves Artsakh and its population completely vulnerable to the genocidal ambitions of Azerbaijan and its dictator, who openly lays claims to not just Artsakh’s lands but those of Armenia as well. In fact, nearly a hundred square kilometers of the Republic of Armenia’s internationally recognized sovereign territories were occupied by Azerbaijan just a few months ago. This after Armenia’s government, in the name of peace, ceded several strategically important border regions to Azerbaijan, regions that Azerbaijan then used to launch attacks against Armenia and take even more land.
And despite the obvious intentions of Aliyev and Azerbaijan to take more and more land and ultimately cleanse Armenians from the entire region, Western Democratic nations continue to push so-called resolutions of the conflict that give Azerbaijan control over Artsakh.
We’re not here to demand anything from Azerbaijan. As I stated, that’s useless. But we are here to call upon all of the enablers of Azerbaijan to stop supporting a dictatorial regime that is committing Genocide, in front of our very eyes, in the 21st century. Ultimately, the only thing that will guarantee the security of Artsakh and its people will be the de-jure recognition of Artsakh’s independence from Azerbaijan, the stopping of all forms of military and political assistance to Azerbaijan, and the imposition of severe economic sanctions against Azerbaijan and its genocidal, dictatorial leadership.
Anything short of this is lip service. The Armenian people are tired of empty promises, fake friends and populist rhetoric from all external and internal parties. As the Armenian saying goes, the knife has reached the bone and it is time for concrete actions to secure the safety and security of the Armenian people to live on their historical lands. Armenia and the Armenian people are not the guarantor of the security of Artsakh, the security and survival of Artsakh is a necessity for the survival of Armenia and the Armenian people, and a key part of the vision of a free, independent, and united Armenia.