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Azerbaijan's wishful thinking

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The following article is being released by Lilit Sedrakyan, Press and Public Affairs Officer, Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles:

Azerbaijan, a country with no expatriate community or economic interests in the West US, established a consulate in Los Angeles a few years ago to wage war on Armenian-Americans. In order to fight this sizeable segment of the US West Coast community, Azerbaijan employs tactics of malicious propaganda, such as the recently placed article, "Armenia Has Lost the War". Signed by the Azeri Consul General, the article made its public appearance on account of the efforts of high-priced public relation firms and lobbyists.

Armenia and Armenians have been victim to soiled campaigns funded by Azerbaijan's government since the breakdown of the Soviet Union where several sovereign countries emerged—including Azerbaijan and the Republic of Artsakh. Azerbaijan, rich in oil, attempted to prevent the people of Artsakh from becoming independent and sent troops and warplanes to crack down on civilians. In recent years, this has become a familiar pattern where people take their destiny in their own hands and defy the tyrants who ruthlessly order death squads against school children and helpless elderly.

The people of Artsakh paid a high price for their independence, but won their right to elect their own democratic institutions and raise their children in a free country. The generation living, working and advancing Artsakh today is 21 years old and has not seen Soviet- Azeri occupation. And this generation will never tolerate living under Azerbaijan's rule with its despotic hereditary regime, medieval hate speech and repugnant racism.

The article mocks the international community - the OSCE's Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States and places the onus for the failure to achieve progress on Armenia. The mediation has not resulted in a breakthrough solution yet – but uniquely because of Azerbaijan. The current compromise solution presented by the Minsk group is acceptable by Armenia, while Azerbaijan refuses it even after several modifications to meet its intransigence.

Quoting some dubious statistics meant to testify to Armenia's vulnerability, the Azeri Consul fails to understand the fundamental root of Armenia's strength. Due to our harrowing history, we have long become a global nation with a global footprint. Our families are scattered around the world and have global stakes. We remain connected to our homeland with strong bonds and solid relationships. We live with our country through problems and successes to such an extent that Armenia's issues, including Artsakh's "frozen conflict" with Azerbaijan, often become domestic issues in third countries.

There should be an attempt on the part of Azerbaijan to overcome its pathological arrogance and understand that in the face of threats, Armenians around the world will mobilize and stand united —from besieged Aleppo to laidback Sao Paolo. The Consulate of Armenia works with the community, day-in, day out and has witnessed this strength and allegiance first hand. This was the case 21 years ago, too, when the people of Artsakh righteously fought for independence.

The Azeri government sees the source of its supremacy over Armenia in Azerbaijan's oil reserves. Oil is a blessing for any country with responsible governance and civil society. For Azerbaijan, it is a curse! The resources are single-handedly managed by the Aliev Dynasty and little goes into the physical and human infrastructure of the country. Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani citizens live in substandard conditions, but the government spends tens of millions of dollars to awkwardly promote its international prestige. The Azeri leadership's unbridled frenzy to buy itself an improved image invariably results in embarrassing situations.

War is in no one's interest. The people of Azerbaijan should not be fooled by the perceived sense of prosperity and military might. They should not be blinded by hate speech and racism. They should not accept militaristic actions of their government—a government that pardons and glorifies a heinous murderer who beheaded his fellow Armenian student in his sleep at a NATO training seminar.

Armenia will continue to depend on its grassroots and build on its only comparative advantage – its people and its desire to build a viable and democratic state. We, in Armenia and all around the world, only hope that Azerbaijan will review its assessment of Armenia's potential and actual strength, thus sparing us all more bloodshed and destruction.

SOURCE Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles