Australian Political Leaders Continue Calling Out Azerbaijani Aggression, Declare Solidarity with Armenia

By ANC-AU | Sunday, 26 July 2020

CANBERRA: Federal parliamentarians Tim Wilson MP, Jason Falinski MP and Senator Kristina Keneally have joined the growing chorus of Australian political leaders who have called out Azerbaijan's provocative attacks at Armenia's north-eastern border, declaring solidarity with the Armenian people, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

The high-profile group of politicians join earlier statements from Trent Zimmerman MP and Joel Fitzgibbon MP - the co-convenors of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group) and Jonathan O'Dea MP and Walt Secord MLC - the chair and vice-chair of the NSW Armenia-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group, who released statements condemning Baku's aggression and declaring solidarity with Yerevan.

On 12 July 2020, the Azerbaijani military began attacks on the Republic of Armenia’s sovereign borders, targeting the town of Tavush and its surrounding villages. With the current death toll at 16 (and possibly higher due to Azerbaijan’s notorious lack of free press and transparency), Azerbaijan has effectively sparked the biggest ceasefire breach between the countries since the 2016 Four Day War, which was also initiated by Azerbaijan as an attempted failed blitzkrieg.

With complete disregard for the United Nations Secretary General’s plea for a global ceasefire during the COVID-19 pandemic, Azerbaijani leadership over the past ten days have continued their aggressive ‘attack, blame, repeat’ modus operandi, using attack drones, tanks and artillery to target and fire upon civilian targets, endangering Armenian men, women and children in the process of striking a PPE manufacturing factory and kindergarten.

Tim Wilson, who is the Federal Member for Goldstein, Chair of the Australian Parliament's House of Representatives Committee on Economics and the only Federal parliamentarian with Armenian heritage, took to Twitter, stating: "Very disturbing news of Azerbaijani aggression and provocation to stoke nationalism and compromise peace and stability on the Armenian border."

"Azerbaijan should be sticking to its ceasefire obligations and respecting the borders of its peaceful neighbour."

Jason Falinsky, who is the Federal Member for Mackellar and Chair of the Australian Parliament's House of Representatives Committee on Tax and Revenue, wrote the following to his Facebook followers: "Deeply concerning reports of Azerbaijani aggression on the Armenian border, with civilians caught up in the fighting."

"My thoughts are with the Armenian Community, both at home and around the world."

Kristina Keneally, who is a Federal Senator representing New South Wales and the Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, said on Twitter: "I am deeply concerned by reports of violence along the Armenian-Azerbaijan border in recent days."

"I express my solidarity with the Armenian people during this troubling time, and mourn their losses."

Earlier, the joint statement from Member for North Sydney Zimmerman and Member for Hunter Fitzgibbon read: "As co-convenors of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union, we are deeply disturbed by the outbreak of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan following Azeri aggression in the Armenian border region of Tavush."

"We call on Azerbaijan to remain compliant with their ceasefire obligations and with international calls to maintain peace during the COVID-19 crisis. Too many soldiers have already lost their lives and civilians in Armenian border towns are at risk. We are also concerned about reports of Azeri cyber-attacks on Armenian assets."

"Breaches of the ceasefire such as this only serve to destabilise an entire region and make the task of the Minsk Group in brokering a lasting peaceful settlement more difficult."

"Azerbaijan must cease aggressive military action and work with Armenia to de-escalate the current conflict."

Similarly, the statement co-signed by Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly Jonathan O'Dea MP and NSW Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord MLC stated: "The NSW Armenia-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group in Australia, made up of more than 40 parliamentarians, strongly condemns any provocative actions of Azerbaijan, who apparently continue their offensive against Armenia's Tavush region, attacking villages with civilians."

"Azerbaijan should respect its internationally brokered ceasefire agreement with Armenia and not attack the Armenian population, including those of Armenian heritage in Artsakh. Such aggressive action should be firmly condemned by governments in Australia and elsewhere, particularly during these times when our world is fighting a global pandemic."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected in Armenia."

The Chair of the Armenia-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group in Armenia's National Assembly, Arman Boshyan MP echoed all statements on his Facebook page and thanked his Australian counterparts for their solidarity during these provocative attacks.

"While there has been deafening silence from the executive branch of Australia's government, which we have taken steps to address, it is comforting to know that Armenia has many friends in Australian politics who accurately recognise Azerbaijan as the aggressor and declare solidarity with the peace-loving people of Armenia and Artsakh," said Armenian National Committee of Australia Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.