BAKU — At a parliamentary meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Armenia’s representative offered two amendments to the Resolution on Political Affairs and Security to protect religious communities in Syria. The first adds language to a section calling for a solution to the crisis in Syria to ensure that not only ethnic groups – but religious ones as well – would be given equal protection in the establishment of a democratic state. Armenia’s second amendment would amend the same section and “Calls upon OSCE participating States to prevent the use of their territories by terrorist and fundamentalist groups for cross-border attacks against civilian populations, including religious and ethnic minorities in Syria.”

Rep. Schiff voted in favor of both amendments, which seek to protect historic Christian communities in Syria. The second amendment is a reaction to attacks and ethnic cleansing in towns like Kessab, which has been emptied of its Armenian inhabitants, some of whom are survivors of the Genocide. Both amendments were adopted.

Schiff said, “Historic Christian communities in Syria and now Iraq are under increasing threat of violence and displacement by radical Islamic terrorists. The international community must do all it can to bring an end to the violence and protect these vulnerable minority populations. I was proud to be present at the OSCE parliamentary assembly and support Armenia’s amendments.”

Armenia offered a third amendment pertaining to Nagorno Karabakh, affirming the right of peoples to self-determination and underlining the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes. The amendment was opposed by Azerbaijan, host of the conference. Rep. Schiff voted in favor of the measure which passed with majority support.

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