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Pallone Commemorates Sumgait Massacres

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  • Pallone Commemorates Sumgait Massacres


    12:20:01 - 27/02/2010 ahos16988.html

    Washington, D.C. --- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., Co-Chairman of the
    Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, issued the following
    statement Friday to commemorate the 18th Anniversary of the Sumgait

    `Mr. Speaker, this Sunday will mark the tragic anniversary of the
    massacres that took place against Azerbaijani citizens of Armenian
    heritage in February of 1988, in the town of Sumgait, Azerbaijan. This
    3-day rampage, carried out by Azerbaijani nationals left dozens of
    Armenians dead, a majority of whom were set on fire alive after being
    beaten and tortured. Hundreds of innocent people received injuries of
    different severity and became physically impaired. Women, among them
    minors, were abused. More than 200 apartments were robbed, dozens of
    cars were destroyed and burned, dozens of art and crafts studios,
    shops and kiosks were demolished, and thousands of people became

    `Mr. Speaker, these crimes were never adequately prosecuted by the
    Government of Azerbaijan, and most of its organizers and executors
    were simply set free, many of whom are presently members of the Azeri
    Parliament. Despite the attempt by the Government of Azerbaijan to
    cover up these crimes, enough brave witnesses came forward to give an
    accurate account of the offenses.

    `The Sumgait massacres are just another in a long line of Azerbaijan's
    aggressions against the Armenian people. The events in Sumgait were
    preceded by a wave of anti-Armenian rallies that shook the city in
    February 1988. Almost the entire territory of the city, with a
    population of 250,000, became an arena for mass violence against its
    Armenian population.

    `The attacks also marked the beginning of a larger campaign of ethnic
    cleansing targeting the Armenian people, culminating in the war
    launched against the people of Nagorno Karabakh. The war claimed
    nearly 30,000 lives and left over one million refugees in both Armenia
    and Azerbaijan. The continued hostilities in Azerbaijan and the
    military aggression against the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh in 1992
    through 1994 led to the disappearance of a 450,000-strong Armenian
    community in Azerbaijan within a span of just a few years. As this
    April marks the 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we also
    pause to remember the crimes committed in Sumgait and the pogroms
    conducted against the Armenian people in Azerbaijan.

    `Mr. Speaker, this anniversary reminds us yet again of the historical
    injustice the Armenian people have faced, unfortunately, throughout
    their history. As we join with the Armenian people and all people of
    goodwill in remembering these atrocities, I strongly urge Azerbaijan
    and Turkey to cease their blockade and aggressive posture against the
    Armenian people and work to achieve a lasting peace. It is time for
    the United States to do all that it can and to use its geopolitical
    influence to send a message that ethnically charged genocides, illegal
    blockades of sovereign nations and the constant harassment of the
    Armenian people will not be tolerated.'