According to the reports published by the Armenian news media, the City Council of Highland in California adopted two proclamations, (1) "recognizing the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic," and (2) "establishing a sister city relationship with the city of Berdzor in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic."
As the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles told Trend, the consulate sent a letter of protest to all five members of the Highland City Council. In the letter, the following facts were brought to the Councilmembers' attention:
"The Nagorno-Karabakh region is an internationally recognized integral part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The sovereignty, territorial integrity and borders of Azerbaijan have been recognized by all members of the international community. In fact, the United States has unequivocally stated on many occasions that it supports territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state. The illegal entity referred to as the "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" ("NKR") was created as a result of unlawful military occupation accompanied by massacres and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis. It is a client regime established by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
During the period from 1991-94, Armenia's armed forces occupied one-fifth of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh, and forcibly expelled more than 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians from their homes and land. Four U.N. Security Council resolutions adopted in 1993 reaffirm the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, demand immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from all occupied regions. This illegal regime in Nagorno-Karabakh is entirely unrecognized by any other country in the world including Armenia itself."
The letter reads further: As for "a sister city relationship with the city of Berdzor," there is no such city with this name in Azerbaijan. It is a fabricated name for the City of Lachin, which was occupied in May 1992 by Armenia. The occupation of Lachin was followed by expulsion of over 65,000 Azerbaijanis. Thousands of civilian Azerbaijanis were killed during the occupation. The Armenian army plundered and destroyed hundreds of settlements, historical monuments and cultural facilities of Lachin."
Considering all the aforementioned facts, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles urged the Council members "to rescind the said biased proclamations, which not only violate the U.S. Constitution (since the federal government does not recognize the "NKR"), but also strongly contradict the spirit of strong and successful partnership between Azerbaijan and the United States".
It is noteworthy that this is the second attempt by the Armenian lobby, which was named "a particularly noxious lobby" by a Washington Post editorial, to get local institutions in California to issue similar ludicrous proclamations. The first attempt was undertaken in April this year, when the Board of Supervisors of the Fresno County was manipulated into adopting a similar document. However, after a harsh protest by the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, the Chairman of the Board Henry Perea expressed his outrage over the manipulation saying in an interview published by Fresno Bee that "local governments put themselves in tricky situations when they address politics far from their borders, and exercising foreign policy is not always appropriate for cities and counties." "What are we going to be doing next, declaring war on other nations?" he asked. "We may need to rethink our position on this matter," Perea said.
Hence, the Consulate General urges all local governments in California to exercise caution against any possible attempt by the Armenian lobby to misuse their esteemed institutions for ethno-centric purposes directed against U.S. foreign policy and national interests.