WASHINGTON—Members of Congress, among them Representatives Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a senior member of this influential panel, and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a leading figure on the subcommittee that writes the foreign aid bill, continue to congratulate the citizens and leaders of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (Artsakh) on the democratic conduct of their most recent presidential elections, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The legislators joined Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the co-chairmen of the Armenian Caucus, in welcoming Karabagh’s July 19 presidential balloting, which resulted in the reelection of incumbent Bako Sahakian over two challengers. Some 110 international observers, including those from the U.S., Canada, EU, former Soviet republics, and Armenia, gave high marks to the elections.
In a statement issued immediately after the election, Berman said: “I commend the people of Nagorno-Karabagh for continuing to organize their governance on a democratic basis. I also congratulate President Sahakian on his success in the July 19 election. I wish him good luck in leading Nagorno-Karabagh toward a final settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh issue, one that fully respects the right of Nagorno-Karabagh to self-determination.”
Sherman, who led the initial charge back in the mid-1990’s for direct U.S. aid to Karabagh, said: “I congratulate President Bako Sahakyan of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh on his reelection. Since independence, Artsakh has developed a democracy and a vibrant civil society despite remarkably difficult challenges. I also congratulate the people of Artsakh on their record of democratization. I will continue to work in the House Foreign Affairs Committee to make sure our foreign policy is supportive of the independence and prosperity of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic.”
Schiff issued a statement congratulating the citizens of Nagorno-Karabagh on the conduct of free and fair elections: “Last Thursday, the people of Artsakh went to their polls to elect a new president in what has been widely reported as a free and fair election. I offer my congratulations to President Bako Sahakian, and wish him well as Nagorno Karabagh Republic continues its hard-won progress.” He added, “By their continuing devotion to freedom and democracy, despite two decades of violence and threats from its larger, richer, and undemocratic neighbor, the people of Artsakh have reminded the world of their commitment to representative government. Their cause is our cause, and they will continue to have my strongest support.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of the highly successful free and fair presidential election in Nagorno-Karabagh,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who, along with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), are the two Members of Congress of Armenian heritage. “Despite decades of violence and threats from overpowering, undemocratic neighbors, the people of Artsakh have maintained an unwavering commitment to freedom and democracy, and they will always have my support.”
Speier concurred, noting, “Democracy lives in Nagorno-Karabagh! The fifth free and fair presidential election in the Republic is a true testament to the commitment and independence of its people and proof that Democracy can bloom in an area of the world where there is little.”
Congressman David Cicilline (D), whose home state of Rhode Island has officially recognized the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, stated: “I congratulate the Nagorno Karabagh Republic on holding another free and fair presidential election, showcasing democracy in action for the rest of the world. In addition, I would like to recognize the invaluable contributions of former Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who assisted as an international observer.”
Jim Costa, who represents much of California’s Central Valley, said: “The United States stands with the people of Nagorno-Karabagh because our citizens share so many of the same foundational ideals, including a commitment to the values of freedom, human rights, self-determination and democracy. With these most recent elections, the people of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic have truly lived up to the promise of democracy,”
As reported earlier, Pallone welcomed Artsakh’s elections by noting, “It is heartening to see [Nagorno-Karabagh's] continued dedication to peaceful democracy,” adding, “I am pleased the Republic continues to hold regular parliamentary and presidential elections that have previously been viewed as free and fair by international observers.”
Royce stressed that “These elections represent the strength of the democratic process in the Nagorno Karabagh Republic and are a testament to the commitment of the people in Artsakh to the Republic’s sovereignty.”
For the full text of the Pallone and Royce statements, visit anca.org/press_releases/press_releases.php?prid=2156.