BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
In the wake of renewed fighting in the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan has launched a White House petition, calling for the "Obama Administration to establish justice and prevent a great catastrophe" (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/establish-justice-and-prevent-great-catastrophe).
The petition, submitted by the President of the Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan Elkhan Suleymanov, notes that Resolution 2085 passed in January by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) "stresses the fact of the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories of Azerbaijan by the Armenian state" and "requests the immediate withdrawal of Armenia's armed forces from the occupied region."
The petition further states that the OSCE Minsk Group, the mediators consisting of the United States, Russia and France, "has made no progress toward the liberation of our occupied territories," and urges "the Administration to support PACE Resolution 2085, to assist in the liberation of the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia and the prevention of a humanitarian catastrophe in the region."
The petition warns that the "current state of the Sarsang reservoir, located in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, could result in a humanitarian disaster." The unmaintained dam has created an artificial environmental crisis to the once-productive agricultural regions of Azerbaijan that lie downstream. In its January resolution, PACE accused Armenia of "environmental aggression" and "deliberately depriving" Azerbaijanis of water flowing from the Sarsang reservoir.
The Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding provinces were occupied by Armenia during the post-Soviet power vacuum, resulting in about 30,000 deaths and nearly one million refugees and internally displaced people. In addition to PACE, many other international bodies, including the United Nations, European Parliament and the OSCE have called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territories.
The long-simmering hostilities escalated dramatically over the weekend, with artillery strikes and helicopter sorties leaving dozens dead. The fighting came fresh on the heels of President Barack Obama's nuclear summit in Washington, in which he praised Azerbaijan as a "critical partner" for its efforts to reduce or eliminate nuclear weapons in the world.
In order to receive a response from the White House, the petition requires 100,000 signatures in 30 days.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor