(Extensions of Remarks - April 25, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E552-E553]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                       HON. MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO

                                of guam

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, April 25, 2013

  Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise to discuss several matters of 
importance to Azerbaijan. I note that January 20, 2013 marked the 23rd 
anniversary of an historic and tragic day in the history of the country 
of Azerbaijan. On the night of January 19, 1990, 26,000 Soviet troops 
invaded the capital city of Baku and surrounding areas. By the end of 
the next day, more than 130 people had died, 611 were injured, 841 were 
arrested and 5 were missing. This event is memorialized as ``Black 
January,'' and, for the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan this 
event left an indelible mark on the minds of all citizens.
   Soviet troops entered Azerbaijan under the pretext of restoring 
public order, while actually aiming to forcefully end peaceful 
demonstrations for independence. However, Soviet incursion further 
incited aspirations of Azerbaijani people to regain their independence 
after 70 years of Soviet rule.
   In the end, Azerbaijan's pro-Moscow regime grew weaker and by 1991, 
popular pressure resulted in restoration of independence of Azerbaijan. 
On August 30, 1991, Azerbaijan's Parliament adopted the Declaration on 
the Restoration of the State Independence of the Republic of 
Azerbaijan, and on October 18, 1991, the Constitutional Act on the 
State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was approved. November 
1991 marked the beginning of international recognition of Azerbaijan's 
independence. The United States opened an embassy in Baku in March 1992 
and it has remained committed to aiding Azerbaijan in its transition to 
democracy and its formation of an open market economy.
   Some historical observers have noted that the violence inflicted on 
the citizens of Baku may have been intended to send a message to other 
Soviet republics that similar aspirations of nationalism would not be 
tolerated. In the wake of this horrific act and inspired by the 
strength of the Azerbaijani people's belief in the principles of 
democracy, the Republic of Azerbaijan has maintained its independence 
for more than 16 years, despite lingering economic and social problems 
from the Soviet era. Today, Azerbaijan has developed into a thriving 
country with double digit growth, in large part due to a freely-elected 
president and parliament, free market reforms led by the energy sector, 
and most importantly, no foreign troops on its soil.
   The road to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity for 
the Azerbaijani people has not come without adversity and sacrifice. 
Athough Azerbaijan thrives today, the people of Azerbaijan recognize 
those who lost their lives on Black January in 1990 and honor their 
sacrifice through their commitment to the ideals of democracy. As we 
reflect on this terrible tragedy, we who believe in the tenets of 
freedom and the hope of democracy should recognize the incredible 
sacrifice made by the people of Azerbaijan and by free people all 
around the world.
   I also rise to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Khojaly 
massacre perpetrated by Armenian armed forces on February 25 through 
February 26, 1992 in the town of Khojaly in the Nagorno-Karabakh region 
of Azerbaijan. Khojaly, now under the occupation of Armenian armed 
forces, was the site of the largest killing of ethnic Azerbaijani 
civilians in the course of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
   Khojaly, once the home to 7,000 people, was completely destroyed. 
Six hundred thirteen people were killed, of which 106 were women, 83 
were children and 56 were purported to have been killed. In addition, 

[[Page E553]]

people were taken hostage, 150 went missing and 487 people became 
disabled. Also in the records maintained, 76 of the victims were 
teenagers, 8 families were wiped out and 25 children lost both of their 
parents while 130 lost one of their parents. According to Human Rights 
Watch and other international observers, the Armenian Armed forces were 
reportedly aided by the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment.
   At the time, Newsweek magazine reported: ``Azerbaijan was a charnel 
house again last week: a place of mourning refugees and dozens of 
mangled corpses dragged to a makeshift morgue behind the mosque. They 
were ordinary Azerbaijani men, women and children of Khojaly, a small 
village in war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh overrun by Armenian forces on 25-
26 February. Many were killed at close range while trying to flee; some 
had their faces mutilated, others were scalped.''
   As part of the Khojaly population that tried to escape, they 
encountered violent ambushes that led to abuses, torture, mutilation 
and death. The Russian organization, Memorial, stated that 200 
Azerbaijani corpses were brought from Khojaly to Agdam within four 
   Time magazine published the following description: ``While the 
details are argued, this much is plain: something grim and 
unconscionable happened in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly 2 weeks ago. 
So far, some 200 dead Azerbaijanis, many of them mutilated, have been 
transported out of the town tucked inside the Armenian-dominated 
enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh for burial in neighboring Azerbaijan. The 
total number of deaths--the Azerbaijanis claim 1,324 civilians have 
been slaughtered, most of them women and children--is unknown.''
   The extent of the cruelty of this massacre against women, children 
and the elderly was unfathomable. This anniversary reminds us of the 
need to redouble efforts to help resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan 
conflict. The United States as a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group 
should intensify its efforts to reach a resolution of this protracted 
   Mr. Speaker, Azerbaijan is a strong ally of the United States in a 
strategically important and complex region of the world. I ask my 
colleagues to join me and our Azerbaijani friends in commemorating the 
tragedy that occurred in the town of Khojaly as well as Black January.