On April 18, 2023, the City Council of Granite City issued a proclamation establishing a Friendship City between Granite City, Illinois, and Ashan, Republic of Artsakh.
This proclamation, spearheaded by Granite City Mayor Parkinson, sets the foundation for long-term cooperation between the two cities and provides opportunities to “engage in critical exchange of ideas to further Ashan’s support of economic stability, cultural preservation, and strong social ties in Artsakh,” as outlined in the proclamation.
Ashsan is a border village in the Martuni Province of the Republic of Artsakh, and has been severely impacted by Azerbaijan’s timeline of aggression, most recently their brutal blockade of Artsakh that has surpassed 145 days, hindering the delivery of vital necessities.
“Artsakhtsis, and more specifically the citizens of Ashan, have been subjected to the inhumane treatment of Azerbaijan for years. While resolute in our will to remain in our homes and on our indigenous lands, we have faced our fair share of hardships. This proclamation and the establishment of this Friendship City shows our people that the Diaspora and the communities in the Eastern United States have our back. With the support of the international community, we can continue to stand up to the enemy, amidst the threat of annihilation,” said Armen Balasanyan, Mayor of Ashan. “We have endured over 145 days of blockade and one thing remains certain, our right to live on this land is unalienable,” he concluded.
Through the tireless efforts of ANC of Southern Illinois activists, this proclamation expresses that Granite City stands in solidarity with the people of Ashan – sending a clear message that their plight is not one to face alone.
“We are extremely proud of the stance that Granite City Mayor Parkinson took by issuing this Friendship City proclamation. This step builds on the longstanding relationship the Armenian community has built with the elected officials of Granite City. Through this proclamation, Mayor Parkinson powerfully demonstrates that he stands with the Armenians of Artsakh who are on the brink of genocide,” said Steve Hagopian, ANC of Granite City co-chair.