The conveners of the New South Wales Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Chair Hon. Jonathan O’Dea MP and Vice Chair Hon. Walt Secord MLC, have written to Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Senator Penny Wong, calling on her Government to publicly condemn Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of the Republic of Artsakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
State Member for Davidson O’Dea – who is the Speaker of the New South Wales Parliament’s Legislative Assembly – and Member of the Legislative Council Secord – former Shadow Treasurer – wrote to the Foreign Minister expressing their grave concern over the 120,000 Artsakh Armenians who have been under siege for over eight days.
“We are alarmed by reports that more than 120,000 people from the Republic of Artsakh have been under siege for more than six days, cut off from Armenia and the outside world. The blockade of the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor is extremely concerning due to the humanitarian crisis it could cause, leaving the people of Artsakh without adequate access to food, medical supplies and humanitarian relief,” their letter read.
O’Dea and Secord, who are also members of the Australian Friends of Artsakh network, also rallied the Australian Government to join the international community, including allies the United States of America, France, Canada and others, in calling for the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor to be re-opened.
Their letter voiced the bi-partisan group’s support for the United Nations-backed Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group process and called on the Australian Government to encourage Azerbaijan to return to the negotiating table and include the people of Artsakh in future negotiation processes to resolve the issue peacefully.
ANC-AU Executive Director, Michael Kolokossian welcomed the statement sent to Minister Wong.
“We thank Mr O’Dea and Mr Secord, and their colleagues in the New South Wales Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group, for continuing to stand with our community in supporting our compatriots in Artsakh, who are facing another unprovoked attack by Azerbaijan,” Kolokossian said.
“Once again, the survival of the Armenian homeland is threatened. This new wave of barbarism only proves to the world that Artsakh can never be under the control of the Azerbaijani regime. A free and independent state is the only way to secure peace and security for the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh.”
“A humanitarian crisis is imminent should Australia and the international community fail to take adequate action,” added Kolokossian.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia has also directly appealed to Minister Wong and Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Hon. Simon Birmingham, demanding they call on Azerbaijan to open the Stepanakert-Goris Highway, which is the only land link between Armenia and Artsakh.