[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 132 (Tuesday, September 20, 1994)]
[Page H]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: September 20, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


  (Mr. WOLF asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 
minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. WOLF. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform my colleagues about my 
recent trip to Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, and Azerbaijan and to submit 
a copy of my report into the Record. I traveled to the region to view 
firsthand the situation in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and to meet 
with government officials on both sides of the conflict. This region is 
largely forgotten but desperately needy.
  I saw horrible conditions. Doctors are operating without anesthesia 
using only a stiff dose of cognac. Land mines planted by the retreating 
Azeri army have caused injury and amputation of limbs of women and 
children as well as soldiers. People are living in hazardous partially 
bombed-out apartment buildings in the cities and in lean-tos among the 
debris of totally demolished villages in the rural areas.
  But the governments on both sides want resolution. I think the 
administration should appoint a special envoy and put pressure on the 
governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan to lift the embargo on Armenia and 
Nagorno-Karabakh to allow resources, including electricity, to begin 
flowing into the region. The winter will be harsh and hundreds will die 
if this blockade continues.
  Let us not forget the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
  Mr. Speaker, I am inserting at this point in the Record a copy of the 
report of my trip to Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, and Azerbaijan as 

 Report of Congressman Frank R. Wolf (Member of CSCE) Trip to Nagorno-
            Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan, August, 1994.

       As part of a delegation organized by Christian Solidarity 
     International I recently traveled to Nagorno Karabakh, 
     Armenia and Azerbaijan to view firsthand the situation in the 
     disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and to meet with 
     officials on both sides of the continuing conflict. The 
     Nagorno-Karabakh leg of the visit was led by Baroness 
     Caroline Cox of the House of Lords, U.K. who was bringing 
     humanitarian relief supplies from the British people and 
     volunteer construction workers and nurses to the beleaguered 
     area. Representatives of Christian Solidarity International 
     and members of British media were also in our group.


       Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region within the 
     boundaries of the country of Azerbaijan very near the 
     Armenian border. In 1921 Stalin, then Comissar for 
     Nationality Affairs in the Transcaucasia Bureau of the 
     Communist Party, declared Nagorno-Karabakh to be an 
     autonomous region controlled by Azerbaijan as part of his 
     divide and rule policy for nationalities. Historically, the 
     majority of the population has been Armenian and the people 
     have always had close ethnic, religious and familial ties 
     with Armenia. So with the breakup of the Soviet Union, the 
     Karabakh Armenians in 1987 petitioned for inclusion of 
     Nagorno-Karabakh in the state of Armenia. In 1991, they 
     petitioned for independent state status.
       Azerbaijan considered this petition to be a matter of 
     territorial integrity and refused to allow it. In 1988, large 
     demonstrations were held by Armenians both in Nagorno-
     Karabakh and Armenia. With Karabakh Armenians insisting on 
     independence and Azerbaijan insisting that Nagorno-Karabakh 
     is Azeri territory with the Karabakhis in internal rebellion, 
     the stalemate has escalated into a full-scale war over the 
     past six years.
       The result has been immense suffering on both sides and 
     numerous incidents of atrocities. Thousands of Armenian 
     Karabakhs and Azeris have been killed and wounded. 
     Deportations and resettlements for ethnic cleansing have 
     taken place. There are over one million refugees and 
     internally displaced persons, villages destroyed in both 
     Nagorno-Karabakh and nearby areas of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan 
     and its ally Turkey have blockaded Nagorno-Karabakh and 
     Armenia cutting shipments of all supplies and resources, 
     including electricity. During our Nagorno-Karabakh visit, 
     there was no hot water at all and sporadic periods of 
     electric blackouts. In Armenia there is electricity only a 
     few hours every day. Feeling pushed and surrounded, Armenia 
     has reluctantly accepted the return of Russian military 
     troops to its soil. To date the Azerbaijanis have resisted 
     the offer of Russian troops.
       Currently the Karabakh Armenians have the upper hand 
     militarily. There has been a ceasefire in effect since May 
     which has allowed some negotiations to go forward.
       There is a struggle over the peace process. The CSCE, on 
     which I serve, created the Minsk Group to come up with a 
     plan. The Russians have made their own proposal. Neither 
     Nagorno-Karabakh or Azerbaijan appear to be satisfied with 
     either plan.


       Armenia is committed to the Nagorno-Karabakh struggle for 
     independence. Even after suffering six years of war, the 
     Karabakhis are determined to go on until they gain 
     independence from Azerbaijan, as one person said, ``for every 
     last man, woman and child of Nagorno-Karabakh.'' The people 
     of Nagorno-Karabakh have lived in war conditions and endured 
     many losses and deprivations, yet they show great resilience. 
     They are very hospitable and make do with what they have, 
     even sharing their meager possessions. While fervently 
     wishing for peace, they remain ready to continue their 
       There is widespread destruction throughout Nagorno-
     Karabakh, but some rebuilding has begun among the rubble 
     despite the expectation by many Karabakhis that the ceasefire 
     will end and an Azeri offensive will start.
       The food, medicine and shelter needs in Nagorno-Karabakh 
     are great. Doctors told us of surgery done without anesthesia 
     using only a stiff dose of local cognac. Land mines planted 
     by retreating Azerbaijanis have caused injury necessitating 
     amputation of limbs of women and children as well as 
     soldiers. Because of the ceasefire, some supplies have 
     recently come in to Nagorno-Karabakh and the growth of 
     summertime local crops have sustained the people somewhat. 
     But the living conditions are still bleak. We saw people 
     living in hazardous partially bombed-out apartment buildings 
     in the cities of Stepanakert and Shusha and found rural 
     peasants living in lean-tos amid the debris of totally 
     demolished villages and virtually deserted villages.
       I am greatly concerned about the hardships that the winter 
     will cause these people, as winters are severe in this 
     mountainous region.
       Compounding the plight of Nagorno-Karabakh has been the 
     absence of outside international attention. Since it is a 
     blockaded enclave within hostile Azeri territory, Nagorno-
     Karabakh is effectively shut off from entry by outsiders. 
     Movement into and out of Nagorno-Karabakh is nearly 
     impossible. Also, since it is still officially part of 
     Azerbaijan and disputed territory, U.S. officials (because 
     the U.S. maintains diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan) are 
     not allowed to visit Nagorno-Karabakh.
       Other than Baroness Caroline Cox of the British House of 
     Lords, who has made 21 visits to Nagorno-Karabakh, no Western 
     officials have had sustained contact with the enclave. The 
     U.S. State Department has de-emphasized resolution of the 
     conflict by replacing former negotiator John Maresca, who 
     focused only on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and retired 
     earlier this year, with a representative assigned to monitor 
     all ethnic conflicts in the former Soviet republics.
       Aside from some assistance funneled to Nagorno-Karabakh 
     from Armenia (including aid from the world wide Armenian 
     community), we heard that the only international groups 
     assisting in Nagorno-Karabakh are the International Red Cross 
     monitoring the war situation and prisoners of war, the French 
     Medicines Sans Frontiers, and Christina Solidarity 
     International who have provided some humanitarian aid.
       The Azerbaijanis are also suffering greatly from this war. 
     Their officials report a million Azeri refugees and 
     internally displaced persons scattered in ill-equipped camps 
     throughout Azerbaijan. They have lost access to the crops 
     grown in Nagorno-Karabakh which supplied one-third of their 
     total grain needs. We heard stories (one from an Azeri 
     prisoner of war) that young Azeri men are being conscripted 
     into military service right off the streets.
       The war effort has seriously hampered economic conditions 
     and development of Azerbaijan's vast natural resources such 
     as oil. Continued instability caused by the war may cause 
     Western companies to lose interest in investing in 
     Azerbaijan's resources.
       We met with a group of private voluntary organizations who 
     are actively supplying aid to Azeri refugees and IDPs, but 
     they reported that their combined efforts do not meet the 
     needs of the people.


       While the parties involved must reach agreement among 
     themselves, the U.S. clearly has a role to play in aiding the 
     peace process.
       The U.S. should have a full-time special envoy working on 
     this problem, taking an active role in bringing the parties 
     together for resolution. There should be no U.S. military 
       The West should understand that Nagorno-Karabakh has every 
     right to expect some form of independence based upon agreed 
     to borders.
       The U.S. should do everything possible to encourage 
     Azebaijan and Turkey to lift their blockades which are 
     causing untold misery. Lifting the blockade may be the key to 
     unlocking the peace process.
       I believe introduction of Russian troops is a mistake. I 
     see this as a means for them to re-establish their sphere of 
     influence in the region. Russian troops are now present in 
     Georgia, Moldova and Armenia and are interested in entering 
     Azerbaijan. We need to be sure that the CIS (Confederation of 
     Independent States) does not become the FIS (Formerly 
     Independent States) and that these countries maintain their 
       More PVO's should be encouraged to be active in Armenia, 
     Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan to help the suffering people 
     of all three areas.
       While I favor continuation of Section 907 of the Freedom 
     Support Act until the blockades are lifted, I believe there 
     must be some flexibility in the enforcement so the PVOs have 
     the ability to help the people in Azerbaijan. The PVOs 
     providing needed assistance have been hampered by too strict 
     interpretation of the 907 language.
       Private groups should be encouraged to help with 
     deactivating the many hidden land mines which remain in 
     Nagorno-Karabakh causing continued maiming of the civilian 
       Its important for leaders of all sides to resolve this 
     issue because the people are suffering so much and because 
     the region has great opportunity to flourish. There should be 
     a bright future because of the natural resources of the area 
     as well as the personal qualities of the people of both 



       Zori Balayan, Writer and member of Nagorno-Karabakh 
       Karon Barbourian, Speaker of Nagorno-Karabakh parliament.
       Azeri prisoners-of-war.


       Serge Sarkissian, Minister of Defense.
       Gragik Haratounian, Vice President of Armenia.
       Robert Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees 
       Robert McClendon, U.S. Peace Corps Director in Armenia.
       John Lynn, TACIS representative (European Union's technical 
     assistance program).
       Harry Gilmore, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia.
       Edith Khachatourian, Director of Yerevan office of Armenia 
     Assembly of America.


       Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan.
       Hassan Hassanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
       Rasul Quliyev, Speaker of Parliament.
       Ramig Maharrouisi, Azeri refugee from Nagorno-Karabakh, 
     doctor, Chief of Shusha clinic for refugees in Baku.
       Representatives from PVOs: Save the Children--Lutful Kabir 
     and Mike Kendellen; Inter. Federation of the Red Cross and 
     Red Crescent--Daniel Valle and John Maim; U.N. World Food 
     Programme--Ann Hudacek; CARE-USA--G.S. Azam; World Vision 
     International--Keith Buck; Relief International--Mary Taylor; 
     International Rescue Committee--Richard Jacquot; and 
     U.N.H.C.R.--Yan Long.
       Richard D. Kauzlarich, U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan.