Burbank Rescinds ‘Friendship City’ Status with Hadrut

The City Council voted unanimously this week to sever Burbank’s Friendship City relationship with Hadrut, an action that proponents said was necessary because of Hadrut’s capture by Azerbaijan and the resulting displacement of many Armenians there.
The council also agreed to consider a resolution to recognize Artsakh, a self-declared republic whose jurisdiction included Hadrut until a recent war, as an independent state. Both motions were approved Tuesday at the urging of community groups, as well as state and federal politicians.
The City Council has rarely taken a public stance on international issues, but has made an exception recently for the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Council members voted to condemn Azerbaijani aggression last October, about a month after the two nations resumed armed hostilities over Artsakh, also called Nagorno-Karabakh.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan claim historical ties to the region. The majority of Artsakh is Armenian and its leaders have expressed support for uniting with Armenia in the past, though it is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan’s territory.
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City Council to Consider Recognizing Artsakh

Following a letter from a local Armenian group, the Burbank City Council will consider a proposal to recognize the disputed territory of Artsakh as an independent state.
Councilman Nick Schultz, who requested the item from city staff members at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, also asked for an option to terminate Burbank’s friendship city relationship with Hadrut, a city in Artsakh. The two municipalities declared that relationship in 2014.
An estimate for when the items would be presented to the council was not available this week.
Schultz’s requests were made after the Burbank chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America sent a letter to the City Council last week. The letter notes that, following last year’s fighting between Turkey-backed Azerbaijan and Armenia, Azeri forces now occupy Hadrut.

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City Council Votes to Condemn Azerbaijani Aggression

Photo courtesy Armenian National Committee of America Burbank
Advocacy group Burbank for Armenia held a fundraiser to raise money for Armenia on Monday. Attendees included Burbank Unified School District Board President Armond Aghakhanian, Armenian National Committee of America’s Burbank chapter chairman Sarkis Simonian, city Councilman Timothy Murphy and other supporters.

The Burbank City Council voted this week to condemn Azerbaijani aggression in the mostly Armenian region of Artsakh, a disputed area over which Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have clashed.
Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, includes the Hadrut province, with which Burbank declared a friendship in 2014.
Reported violence by Azerbaijani forces in Artsakh has been the focus of widespread protests and rallies recently, with the Armenian flag becoming a not-uncommon sight in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The panel’s unanimous vote also directed city staff members to send a letter of support from the council for a potential U.S. House of Representatives resolution, House Resolution 1165, that would condemn Azerbaijan’s military’s actions in Artsakh. The resolution’s authors include Reps. Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, who represent Burbank.

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