West LA intersection named Republic of Artsakh Square, honoring Armenian side in conflict

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Sunday, September 3, 2023
West Los Angeles intersection named Republic of Artsakh Square
A Los Angeles intersection is now known as Republic of Artsakh Square, a deeply symbolic gesture for the local Armenian community.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Granville Avenue in Los Angeles is now known as Republic of Artsakh Square.

This has a deep symbolic meaning for the Armenian community.

"And if we can provide a little bit of comfort and support to the suffering people of Artsakh to let them know that they're not forgotten," says LA City Council President Paul Krekorian.

It's right in front of the consulate of Azerbaijan. The U.S. government says that country is imposing an illegal blockade on the state of Artsakh.

Robert Avetisyan who is the representative of the republic of Artsakh to the United States, says "This is the fight for our freedom versus oppression, this is the fight our people and those who stand next to us against genocide because we fight against the reputation of the Armenian Genocide."

For the last nine months the Lachin Corridor has been blocked by Azerbaijani authorities. For about 120,000 residents that has resulted in shortages of food and fuel.

Azerbaijan has also blocked access to Artsakh by air.

The intersection in West Los Angeles is in the City Council district of Traci Park who says "It is reprehensible that the Azerbaijani government would intentionally subject those living in Artsakh to living in an open-air prison."

The state department issued a statement which says in part:

"We are deeply concerned about deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Nagorno-Karabach resulting from the continued blockage of food, medicine, and other goods essential to a dignified existence... Basic humanitarian assistance should never be held hostage to political disagreements."

Former California state legislator Adrin Nazarian says "This is what modern day genocide looks like. It's not about bombs or guns or machine weaponry. It's about cutting off food supplies to a country that you know is landlocked."

After the ceremony, the Los Angeles consulate of Azerbaijan released a statement from consul general Ramil Gurbanov that read in part:

"I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the decision of the Los Angeles City Council to name the intersection of Wilshire and Granville streets as "republic of artsakh square" and unveiling of street signs. This provocative act goes against international law, the spirit of peace, and confidence-building in the region and undermines the efforts of international diplomacy."

It is important to note that the international community, including the United States Government and the United Nations, recognizes the Garabagh region as an integral part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and ethnic Armenians living there are the residents of Azerbaijan. Any reckless reference to this region as 'Nagorno-Karabakh' or 'artsakh' contradicts the principles of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, and sovereignty and established national legislation, as well as the normative framework developed by the United Nations with respect to the use of geographic names. The mentioned former Soviet and self-proclaimed Armenian appellations bear no legal or territorial relevance within Azerbaijan's sovereign boundaries."