Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk “strongly condemned” Azerbaijan’s ongoing threats and violence against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, in a powerfully worded statement issued on March 8th, marking the 26th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian massacres in Sumgait.
Senator Kirk began his remarks spotlighting Azerbaijan hate-crimes against Armenians in Sumgait from February 26 to 28, 1988, stating, “I join my Armenian-American constituents in Illinois in commemorating the memory of those who perished in anti-Armenian violence in Sumgait, Soviet Azerbaijan twenty-six years ago. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured during three days of horrific violence. The entire Armenian population of Sumgait fled as a result. The perpetrators of these heinous acts have never been brought to justice.”
The Senator then turned to Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression against Armenia and Artsakh, noting. “As we remember the Sumgait victims, I call on the current Government of Azerbaijan to immediately halt its campaign of incitement and hatred against Armenia that threatens to destabilize the region. It is deplorable that the President of Azerbaijan would pardon and glorify the convicted murderer Ramil Safarov, who killed a sleeping Armenian soldier while both were on a NATO Partnership for Peace Program. I strongly condemn repeated statements from Azerbaijani officials that threaten violence against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Over the previous week, Senator Kirk was joined by House Foreign Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), fellow Committee colleagues Brad Sherman (D-CA) and David Cicilline (D-RI), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), in issuing similar statements condemning the Sumgair, Baku and Kirovabad pogroms and calling on Azerbaijan to end its aggression against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.