Letter: British mercenaries for Azeri war

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The Independent Online
Sir: If, as Tim Kelsey reports (24 January), British mercenaries are being provided for the Azeri war, with the tacit backing of the British government, it is disgraceful and criminal. Armenia is not at war with Azerbaijan. Azeri forces have for years been trying to cleanse a small community of 150,000 Armenians from Nagorny Karabakh - an autonomous region that was put under Azeri administration in the Twenties by Stalin in order to appease Turkey.

The people of Karabakh and their self-defence forces have, since 1988, been fighting for democracy and self-determination, massively supported by a referendum held in December 1991. They are natives of Karabakh, who have inhabited the area for more than 1,000 years. Their desire for self-rule has the wholehearted support of every Armenian, wherever they may be.

As a London member of the Armenian Community Council of Great Britain and a resident in this country for 30 years, I wish to express my gratitude to the Independent for exposing this illegal behaviour in the interests of peace and humanity.

I wonder, are we to witness another 'arms for Iraq' scandal from our government? Perhaps the Prime Minister will issue a statement condemning the officials involved in this murky business.

Yours sincerely,

HAIG VARTANIAN

London, W7

24 January

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