Remembering the 21St Anniversary of the Khojaly Tragedyby Former Representative Ed Pastor
Posted on 2013-02-27
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Mr. PASTOR of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remember the 21st
Anniversary of the Khojaly Tragedy, which occurred in this small town
in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan on February 25-26, 1992.
In the early 1990s, Azerbaijan was involved in a brutal conflict with
its neighbor to the West, Armenia, and the repercussions from
atrocities committed during that time still impact diplomatic and
economic relations today. The Khojaly Tragedy is perhaps the worst
single incident that occurred during this time, resulting in hundreds
of lives lost, families devastated, and the town destroyed.
Since a cease-fire was negotiated in 1994, these two nations have been locked in a dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, located within Azerbaijan but occupied by Armenian forces. The Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which the United States is a co-chair, was created to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to this conflict, yet work remains in reaching this goal.
In December 2012, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Mammadyarov addressed this situation as follows: ``As a result, our relations with Armenia are practically nonexistent. There is also a distinct lack of economic cooperation and trade between our two countries. Azerbaijan wants peace so that we can continue to grow our economy, develop our energy resources and advance our relations with Europe and our neighbors. But Armenia also has a stake in peace with Azerbaijan. The country is isolated in the region largely because of this conflict. It is excluded from all regional infrastructure and energy projects, such as the oil and gas pipelines passing from the Caspian Sea to Turkey and Europe via Georgia, as well as a new railroad line between Azerbaijan and Turkey through Georgia, to be inaugurated this year. When we can agree on lasting peace, Armenia could become a stakeholder in these regional projects.'' A peaceful resolution of this conflict would benefit not only Azerbaijan and Armenia, but would ensure security and economic growth for the South Caucasus region.