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05 March 2018

‘Hoy Los Angeles’ - the Spanish language edition of the Los Angeles Times - published on March 2, 2018 an article dedicated to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

It should be noted that with one million circulation, ‘Hoy Los Angeles’ is the largest Hispanic newspaper in the United States. It is also noteworthy that there are over 55 million Hispanics in the United States, including 15 million in California and 5 million in the Los Angeles County alone, and this community's influence in the country’s political and economic life is increasing day by day.

Titled “California Senate must listen to both sides of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict” and authored by ‘Hoy Los Angeles’ Editorial Director Alejandro Maciel, the article discusses the history and present of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict; the Khojaly Genocide that was committed by Armenia against Azerbaijan in 1992; as well as the recent anti-Azerbaijani hearing that was held at the California State Senate, dedicated to, among other things, the 30th anniversary of Sumgait events.

The author mentions that in the early 1990’s Armenia occupied Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts expelling 800,000 Azerbaijanis from these territories. He stresses that coupled with 250,000 Azerbaijanis, who were forced to leave Armenia, the conflict caused the displacement of over one million Azerbaijanis.

The author talks in this regard specifically of the Khojaly Genocide: “On February 25 and 26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of the Soviet troops stationed in Khankendi, seized the town of Khojaly. In these actions, a total of 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elderly people were massacred. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one of their parents and 25 children lost both. Around 1,275 civilians were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people remains unknown.”

In this vein, the author opines that the California Legislature must be fair and also “recognize the genocide against the Azerbaijani people, committed by the armed forces of Armenia.” He further notes that “In 1994, a ceasefire agreement was signed followed by peace negotiations. Despite the fact that 24 years have passed, Armenia has not yet implemented the four resolutions of the UN Security Council demanding the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.”

The article lists relevant resolutions that were adopted by a number of other influential international organizations, emphasizing that in those documents Armenia was recognized as an aggressor, and the ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan’s lands was condemned as crimes against humanity.

Speaking of the California Senate’s anti-Azerbaijani hearing of February 28, 2018, the author notes that the hearing did not produce the expected results for the Armenian lobby, as only two of the 40 California senators attended the hearing, while members of the Azerbaijani community living in California showed up, asking various questions, such as why senators did not condemn the massacres committed by Armenia against Azerbaijani people and the displacement of one million Azerbaijanis from their lands, or why Senator Anthony Portantino (chair of the hearing) demonstrated bias regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

In conclusion, the article says: “Without a doubt, it is important that our legislators address international issues, discuss them and take a stand. But in this case, the California Senate has the civic and moral responsibility to listen to both sides of this conflict and be true to its principles of fairness and justice.”