Hawaii Recognizes Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s Independence

Hawaii became the seventh state to rally in support
of the democratic development and right to self-determination for the
people of Artsakh today, voting unanimously to recognize the Nagorno
Karabakh Republic, reported the Armenian National Committee of America
– Western Region (ANCA-WR).

The Hawaii House of Representatives consideration of H.R. 167 took
place despite enormous pressure from the Azerbaijani Embassy to quash
the measure, with the key vote taking place just 24 hours before
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Washington, DC to join
President Obama and other world leaders in the nuclear summit.

The historic vote specifically voiced encouragement for Artsakh’s
(Nagorno Karabagh) continuing efforts to develop as a free and
independent nation and formally called the internal community to
recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as a free, independent, and
sovereign democracy.

“Today the people of Hawaii stood on the side of freedom and
independence for the people of Artsakh – standing strong against
powerful lobbying interests seeking to undermine fundamental American
and Armenian principles of democracy and self-determination. Our
heartfelt appreciation goes out to Representatives Angus McKelvey and
John Mizuno for leading this effort and the entire House of
Representatives for taking such a strong stance along with our
grassroots for their efforts,” stated ANCA WR Executive Director Elen

The Nagorno Karabakh Republic Representative to the U.S. Robert
Avetisyan hailed the decision, stating, “I am grateful to the House of
Representatives of the State of Hawaii, Representative McKelvey,
Representative Mizuno, and all their colleagues who supported this
motion. It reinforces Artsakhtsis’ confidence that our achievements do
not go unnoticed; that a free and independent Nagorno Karabakh
Republic will eventually be recognized as such by the entire civilized
community of nations.”

Both Avetisyan and Asatryan offered special thanks to community
advocate Artur Artenyan, who worked tirelessly in support of the
measure, with the support of the growing Hawaii Armenian community.
In 2014, through local community efforts, the Hawaii legislature
publicly debated and then rejected a pair of Azerbaijan-initiated
anti-Armenian measures, dealing a high-profile setback to Baku’s
well-funded effort to enlist U.S. state legislatures in its
increasingly aggressive campaign against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Artenian and Rudy Dekermenjian were on hand at the state capitol
during the introduction and the vote.

In the days leading up to the unanimous vote on H.R.167, the ANCA
Western Region worked with Artenyan and key House legislators,
offering insights on Artsakh’s two decades of democratic development
and economic progress in the face of increased attacks by Azerbaijani
forces, which hit record levels in 2015.

Hawaii joins Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Louisiana, California
and, most recently, Georgia in adopting legislation which supports the
independence of Artsakh.  Full language of the resolution may be found
online athttps://legiscan.com/HI/text/HR167/id/1378938

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