Speaker Perez Responds to Azeri Threats

Speaker Perez (left-center) discusses issues with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian during their meeting in Yerevan last week

Asks to be included in Baku’s notorious “black list”


LOS ANGELES—In a rebuke to Azeri efforts to discredit elected officials, California State Assembly Speaker John Perez, who just returned from a visit to Armenia, responded to a threat from Azeri Consul General in Los Angeles of being included in a so-called “black list” of people visiting the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Ahead of the California state and local officials visit to Armenia and Artsakh, the Azeri Consul General Nasimi Aghayev sent a letter to the non-Armenian officials in the delegation threatening that if they travel to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, official Baku would deem them personae non gratae and include them in a “black list” that so far boasts more than 300 foreign officials.

Perez was never scheduled to travel to Artsakh due to prior commitments in California. Yet his absence from the Artsakh leg of the trip was characterized by Azeri officials and media as him having caved into Azeri pressures.

In a letter addressed to Aghayev by Perez and obtained by Asbarez, the speaker clarifies his travel itinerary and urges the Consul General to add his name on the “black list” if Baku opts to characterize any member of his delegation as a persona non-grata.

“Please be advised that if the Republic of Azerbaijan does, in fact, add any California official to the list of persona non grata you should immediately add my name as well,” wrote Perez to Aghayev.

“Had you inquired before sending your letter, you would have learned that at no time did my itinerary include visiting Nagorno-Karabakh,” explained Perez.

“That said, I must not let go unanswered any attempt to dictate the travel plans of duly elected representatives of the State of California. Further, raising the threat of making California elected officials persona non grata in your country hardly seems conducive to building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship,” added Perez in direct response to the threats made by Aghayev and Baku.

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian met with Perez and delegation in Yerevan before the speaker’s departure.

“My colleagues and I are fully aware of the circumstances in Nagorno-Karabakh as well as the important relationships that the United States has with both the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. I unequivocally support our government’s efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to this situation, and I share the sentiments of President Obama when he joined with the Presidents of France and the Russian Federation to declare their commitment to helping the parties reach a lasting and peaceful settlement. It is in that spirit that I respond to your letter,” explained Perez.

The Perez-led delegation included Assemblymembers Katcho Achajian, Cheryl R. Brown, Adrin Nazarian and Scott Wilk. A Los Angeles City Council delegation also visiting Armenia includes Bob Blumenfield and Paul Krekorian and staff. They arrived in Armenia on September 17 at the invitation of the Armenian government. After Perez left Armenia, the remainder of the delegation visited Artsakh, where they met with government officials and toured the country.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region played a key role in organizing the delegation visit to Armenia and was represented by its board chairwoman Nora Hovsepian and Executive Director Elen Asatryan.

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  1. John Ahmaranian said:

    The Azeri “black list” is honoring people who are not going to visit Baku !
    The Slovaks separated themselves from the Republic of Czechoslovakia, but the Czechs did not
    “black listed’ the Slovaks. This is the difference between being of Mongolian descent and European
    open minded people.

  2. Alex Postallian said:

    When our state dept,is investigated,cleaned up,the bribe takers put in prison or fired,

  3. Alec Baghdasaryan said:

    Thank you to all the elected officials from both California Assembly and Los Angeles City Council for visiting Armenia and Artsakh. It is through such efforts that officials from US will get to visit and learn about the kind and generous nature of people in both Armenia and Artsakh, enjoy the breathtaking sceneries; and visit the historical monuments and churches in both Armenia and Artsakh.

    Special thanks to Assembly Speaker John Perez for his response to Azeri Consul General. Sorry to hear your trip schedule didn’t allow you to visit Artsakh; a location that is recognized by Huffington Post and ABC7 for its beauty and grandeur and by many-many observers for its model of democracy and free elections. I am sure the invitation is open for the next time you have a chance to travel to the region.
    Thank you to Paul for the Los Angeles-Shushi Friendship resolution in 2012 and to Adrin and Khecho for the California Assembly resolution in 2013 recognizing the 25th anniversary of the Stepanakert movement.

    As far as the Azeri Consul General, three points. First, thank you for supporting jobs in US by hiring a PR firms, however given the response of Mr. Perez, I will fire the firm and hire another (even though given your cause, it will be a waste of money). Second, I suggest you find other uses for your so called blacklist since this list will have no impact on elected officials US; I can suggest other uses that are more appropriate for the list, but mentioning them here is not appropriate. Third, I suggest you keep your donkey riding and decorating skills up since that is all you would be doing when your country runs out of oil.

  4. Pingback: California State Assembly Speaker asks to be included in Baku’s notorious “black list” | Public Radio of Armenia

  5. Miran Shamlian said:

    Those people in the “black list” of Azerbaijan should be worried because the name and aim of the list may change to “those to be killed by axe list”.