17th anniversary of the Armenian occupation of the historic Azerbaijani capital of Karabakh region -- the city of Shusha
Some two decades ago, the Republic of Armenia started a war against the people of Azerbaijan, in the internationally recognized sovereign territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to the UN's own statistics, there are close to one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), the victims of the continuing Armenian aggression. The ethnic Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabagh region and other seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan, numbering close to 800,000, were ethnically cleansed from the occupied territories, and for the last 17 or more years have been unable to return to their ancestral homes, such as those in Shusha.
The occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenian forces also caused enormous destruction to our cities, villages, and most importantly, to the historical monuments of Azerbaijani culture in the occupied territories. The lands under the control of Armenian forces became an area of destruction, arson, economic disaster and criminal activities. Azerbaijani-Americans are particularly concerned about the frequent incidents of arson fires in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, which have inflicted a widespread environmental damage.
May 8, 2009 is the 17th anniversary of the destruction of the historic and venerated town of Shusha, which was once the centerpiece of a vibrant Azerbaijani classical music scene and home to the first opera in the Middle East. It was renowned for its musicians, composers, and singers. Now it lays in waste, a victim of Armenian destruction, occupation, and systematic ethnic cleansing. It should be noted that up until 1992, Shusha, the most important and best known city in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, was 92% Azerbaijani.
Furthermore, the UN Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of 1993 and the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/48/114 and other GA resolutions, including most recently in March 2008, are being ignored by Armenia. These resolutions call for "immediate complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces" of all Armenian military forces from Azerbaijan's territories.
On behalf of Azerbaijani-Americans and Azerbaijanis worldwide, we implore the U.S. Government to do whatever is necessary to move this situation along to its rightful resolution within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, specifically, to:
1) to implement the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions
2) to stop Armenian occupation
3) to remove all Armenian military forces illegally stationed in Azerbaijan, incluing from Shusha in Karabakh
4) to allow the return of Azerbaijani displaced persons back to their homes
5) to seize the blockade of Naxcivan, the Azerbaijani exclave region
6) to return all POWs and MIA
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The U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) <http://www.usazeris.org/> is a registered non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian genuine grassroots advocacy and voter education network that is facilitating political activism and efforts by the Azerbaijani-Americans and other Turkic-Americans and their associations, organizations, councils, conferences, and other formal, semi-formal and informal groups, on federal, state and local levels. USAN is the first nationwide grassroots organization uniting Azerbaijani-Americans, being created by the grassroots, for the grassroots.