Winter 2001 (9.4)
the Record Straight
Letter to the Editor published in the Washington Times, December
Different Light on U.S. Sanctions Against Azerbaijan Allow me
to make several points regarding your December 23 editorial "The
Importance of Armenia and Azerbaijan".
As you state, Americans are not very knowledgeable about realities
in the region. This is especially true with regard to the conflict
between Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as to the consequences
of Armenian aggression against my country. It is an internationally
established fact that Armenia has occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan,
turning almost a million of my compatriots into refugees and
internally displaced persons [IDPs]. Yet even experts writing
on these issues sometimes present a distorted picture of the
situation, be it intentionally or involuntarily.
Lack of knowledge is the main reason why the powerful Armenian
lobby has succeeded in misrepresenting the cessation of normal
trade relations, quite natural between two warring parties, as
a blockade. Thus, it misled the U.S. Congress into adding insult
to injury and passing Section 907 of the 1992 Freedom Support
Act, containing sanctions against Azerbaijan. [The U.S. Congress
singled out Azerbaijan from all of the 15 former Republics of
the Soviet Union and has denied all direct aid to the Azerbaijani
government for the past decade].
Despite the opposition to 907 by successive U.S. administrations
[Bush 1992, Clinton 1993-2000], it was only after September 11,
2001 that U.S. [Congressional] policy on this matter was reconsidered.
As far as Armenia's "admirable restraint" and "gracious
response to the relaxation of U.S. sanctions against Azerbaijan"
are concerned, I would like to set the record straight. After
September 11, the President of Armenia himself went on record
viciously opposing any modification of Section 907. At the same
time, a high-ranking Armenian delegation was dispatched to Washington
to enforce this position.
We do welcome the Bush Administration's engagement in the process
of peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
And the Congressional decision to provide the President with
authority to waive 907 is an important step toward making this
engagement truly unbiased. That is precisely the sort of U.S.
involvement in world affairs that is needed to counter the aggressive
separatism that, merged with international terrorism, threatens
to destroy our values and way of life.
Finally, with respect to both Armenian-Azerbaijani and Turkish-Armenian
relations, I believe the only way to settle these kinds of disputes
is to look to the future, not appeal to what took place or is
claimed to have taken place in the past.
Hafiz Pashayev, Ambassador of Azerbaijan
Editor: Curiously, there seems
to be a surge of interest in traditional music instruments lately
and people have found us through our Web site - AZER.com. We have included email
addresses so that our readers can more adequately reply to the
(9.4) Winter 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2002. All rights reserved.
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