The Maine House of Representatives and Senate passed a joint resolution this morning recognizing the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR), and calling on the U.S. President and Congress “to support the self-determination and democratic independence” of NKR, the Armenian Weekly reports.
The resolution urged the President and Congress to support NKR’s “constructive involvement with the international community’s efforts to reach a just and lasting solution to security issues in that strategically important region.”
The resolution was introduced by Rep. Scott Hamann (South Portland) and co-sponsored by Rep. A.M. Gattine (Westbrook) and S. Gideon (Freeport).
“I am so proud of my state, the State of Maine, for supporting the right of the free Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh to freedom, democracy and independence through self-determination. I hope other states follow their sister states Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine and do the right thing.” author and lawyer Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte of Portland, Maine told the Armenian Weekly.
Maine is the third state to pass such a resolution. On May 17, 2012, The Rhode Island House passed a resolution calling on the U.S. President and Congress to recognize the independence of NKR. On Aug. 6, 2012, the House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts adopted a similar resolution.
The full text of the Resolution is copied below:
JOINT RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO SUPPORT THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE NAGORNO-KARABAKH REPUBLIC
WE, your Memorialists, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Maine now assembled in the First Regular Session, most respectfully present and petition the President of the United States and the United States Congress, as follows:
WHEREAS, Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus and has historically been Armenian territory, populated by an overwhelming majority of Armenians, which was severed from Armenia by the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1921 and placed under newly created Soviet Azerbaijani administration; and
WHEREAS, February 20, 1988 marked the beginning of the national liberation movement in Nagorno-Karabakh; and
WHEREAS, the Nagorno-Karabakh democracy movement inspired peoples throughout the Soviet Union to stand up against tyranny and for their rights and freedoms, helping to bring democracy to millions and contributing to world peace; and
WHEREAS, in 1989, the United States Senate expressed support for the legitimate aspirations for freedom of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh; and
WHEREAS, on September 2, 1991, in a popular expression of democracy, the elected legislature of Nagorno-Karabakh declared the creation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, in full compliance with then-existing legislation and international norms; and
WHEREAS, on December 10, 1991, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in favor of the independence of the region and, on January 6, 1992, the democratically elected legislature of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic formally declared independence; and
WHEREAS, Azerbaijan launched a full-scale military aggression to suppress the national liberation movement in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which ended with the signing of a cease-fire in 1994; and
WHEREAS, as one of the mediators, along with Russia and France, the United States has expressed its vision for a stable and peaceful South Caucasus, and direct United States aid to Nagorno-Karabakh represents a vital source of humanitarian relief for post-war reconstruction in the republic; and
WHEREAS, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has built a democratic nation, with a free-market-oriented economy and a vibrant civil society, and has held several presidential and parliamentary elections, all praised by international monitors as free and fair; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED: That We, your Memorialists, encourage and support the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s continuing efforts to develop as a free and independent nation in order to guarantee its citizens those rights inherent in a free and independent society; and be it further
RESOLVED: That We urge and request that the President of the United States and the United States Congress support the self-determination and democratic independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and its constructive involvement with the international community’s efforts to reach a just and lasting solution to security issues in that strategically important region; and be it further
RESOLVED: That suitable copies of this resolution, duly authenticated by the Secretary of State, be transmitted to the Honorable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States, to the President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to the Honorable Robert Avetisyan, Permanent Representative to the United States of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and to each Member of the Maine Congressional Delegation.”