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Public Statements

Black January

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BOREN. Mr. Speaker, as a Co-Chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus, I note that January 20 marked the 22nd anniversary of an historic and tragic day in the history of the country of Azerbaijan.

On the night of January 19, 1990, 26,000 Soviet troops invaded the capital city of Baku and surrounding areas. As a result of this violent crackdown on the Azerbaijani people more than 130 innocent civilians died, 611 were injured, 841 were arrested and many more were missing. This event remained in the history and in the minds of all the citizens as ``Black January''.

This attack was an attempt to stop the independence movement that was gaining momentum in Azerbaijan and to rescue the totalitarian regime, the rule of Communist Party, and the whole Soviet Union. However, this invasion produced the opposite result. It further inflamed the national movement for independence in Azerbaijan and other Republics of the Soviet Union. In a resolution on January 22, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR declared that the decree used by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to impose emergency rule in Baku and military deployment constituted an act of aggression. This event is seen as the rebirth of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Popular pressure led the country to break away from Soviet rule and declare its independence. On August 30, 1991, Azerbaijan's Parliament adopted the Declaration on the Restoration of the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and on October 18, 1991, the Constitutional Act on the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was approved. November 1991 marked the beginning of international recognition of Azerbaijan's independence. The United States was among the first nations to recognize independence of this young country. It established diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan on February 28, 1992, and opened an embassy in Baku in March of that year.

Today, Azerbaijan has developed into a thriving country with sustainable economic growth and developing democratic institutions. The United States and Azerbaijan are cooperating on a broad range of issues and share a common vision for the future of the region and beyond.
I encourage my colleagues to join with me today in standing with Azerbaijanis as they commemorate this tragedy.

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