Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Mkhitar Gosh Medal Presented to Sherman

  

Dec 6, 2012
Press Release

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Armenian Ambassador Tatoul Markarian presented the Mkhitar Gosh medal to Congressman Sherman.

Washington, DC – Last night, Congressman Brad Sherman was presented the Mkhitar Gosh medal at a Congressional celebration of the 21st anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.  Earlier this year, President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia awarded the Mkhitar Gosh Medal to Sherman for his efforts to enhance U.S.-Armenian relations and to achieve international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.   Mkhitar Gosh was an important Armenian scholar, clergyman, and codifier of the Armenian civil and canon laws.

Sherman, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has been leading efforts since 1997 to provide U.S. aid to the people of Artsakh.

Earlier in the day, Sherman also met with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Karen Mirzoyan, to discuss ways to expand cooperation between the U.S., Armenia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The following are excerpts of Sherman’s remarks at the celebration last night:


“I thank the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, for honoring me with the Mkhitar Gosh medal in recognition of my efforts to expand U.S.-Armenia ties and recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Thank you, Ambassador Tatoul Markarian, for this award.  I am privileged to receive this honor.

I would like to recognize and thank the esteemed Foreign Minister of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Mr. Karen Mirzoyan, for joining us tonight.  Congratulations to you and your citizens on the 21st anniversary of Artsakh’s independence.  On December 10, 1991, Nagorno Karabakh held an independence referendum and overwhelmingly voted for independence.

Today we celebrate Artsakh's freedom and independence.  Artsakh continues to strengthen its democracy and held its fifth presidential election this year.  The election in July 2012 was monitored and deemed free and fair by international observers.

Despite Azerbaijan’s deeply unjust blockade and a devastating war in from 1991 to 1994, Artsakh continues to solidify its democracy and improve its economy.   Nagorno Karabakh has been successful in its transition from a state-run economy to a market economy, which helped achieve steady economic growth.

I was the first member of Congress to introduce legislation for direct aid to Nagorno-Karabakh.  In 1997, I introduced an amendment during the House International Relations Committee’s consideration of a foreign aid authorization bill for fiscal year 1998 for direct US humanitarian aid to Nagorno Karabakh.  While this amendment did not pass, it accelerated the movement for direct U.S. aid to Artsakh.

In September 2012, I backed Nagorno-Karabakh’s efforts to reopen the airport in Stepanakert.  The opening has been delayed several times.  Unfortunately, officials in Baku have threatened to shoot down civilian planes traveling to Stepanakert.  It is time for that airport to open.  

I condemn Baku’s pardoning and freeing of an Azeri axe-murderer, Ramil Safarov , who was imprisoned in Hungary for killing an innocent Armenian officer in his sleep in Budapest.  We must hold Azerbaijan accountable for this grave injustice.

Thank you.”


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