California Assembly Panel Votes to Recognize Artsakh

SACRAMENTO—With a 9 to 1 vote and, 1 abstention, the California State Assembly Rules Committee, on Monday, May 5, passed Assembly Joint Resolution 32 which calling for the United States to recognize the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic as a sovereign state and promoting the right of “self-determination and democratic independence.”

AJR 32, introduced by Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), makes California the most populous governmental entity to call for Nagorno-Karabagh’s recognition or to recognize it outright.

“It has been my privilege to work with the leaders of the local Armenian American community and their outstanding representatives on this Resolution and I am proud that it has passed in the Rules Committee and is on its way to the Assembly floor for a full vote,” said  Gatto.

Providing testimony were Sevak Khatchadorian, chair of the Armenian Council of America, and Alina Nalbantyan, who hails from the Shahoumian region of Artsakh, and Nora Hovsepian from the Armenian National Committee of America.

Along with Gatto, Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) addressed the Assembly Rules Committee, stressing the importance of the California State legislature to pass AJR 32, and support a people who strive to create a peaceful and democratic nation.

Co-author of the Resolution, Assembly Member Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) who visited Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh last September reiterated her support. “I’m supporting this Resolution because I believe people should have an independent nation and should be free to vote however they want to vote,” said Brown. “People in Karabagh are warm, welcoming, happy and have a strong desire for self-determination. I do understand second class treatment and my heart goes out to everyone in this room.”

Correcting the Azeri lobby, Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), stated that Shushi is historically Armenian, and his grandparents were natives of Shushi prior to being forced to relocate due to Azeri aggression.

The full California Assembly was scheduled to vote on the measure on May 8.