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Growing Congressional calls to zero-out U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan

A bipartisan group of 64 U.S. Representatives called on leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to stop military aid to Azerbaijan and allocate $150 million for Artsakh and Armenia to address the ongoing humanitarian and security crises caused by the Erdogan and Aliyev regimes, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We stand with the 64 Congressional cosigners of the Armenian Caucus FY 2023 Foreign Aid letter in calling for robust U.S. aid to Artsakh and Armenia, to counter Azerbaijan’s ongoing attacks and provide life-changing assistance to the 100,000 Armenians displaced from their ancestral Artsakh homes during the 2020 war,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We will continue to work with House and Senate appropriators in the upcoming months to ensure that no U.S. tax dollars are used to aid and abet Turkey and Azerbaijan’s genocidal policies.”

In the Armenian Caucus letter to Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ranking Member Hal Rogers (R-KY), led by Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), legislators explained that “the people of Artsakh continue to face severe hardships caused both by the deadly 44-day war Azerbaijani forces provoked in 2020 and their ongoing provocations against innocent civilians to this day.” They continued to note that $50 million in Artsakh assistance “would help provide Armenian refugees with the aid, housing, food security, water and sanitation, health care, rehabilitation, and demining/UXO clearance they need to reconstruct their communities, rebuild their lives, and resettle their homes.”

In their calls for $100 million in assistance for Armenia, legislators explained, “this critical investment will build on past support for Armenia and Artsakh by the Subcommittee and will help strengthen the U.S.-Armenia strategic partnership, solidify our presence, and grow our influence in the region.”

Congressional lawmakers also stressed the importance of ending U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan, in the face of ongoing Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia and Artsakh. “The overdue process of holding Azerbaijan accountable must begin with Congress encouraging the Administration to fully enforce Section 907, restricting the State Department’s authority to waive this law, and enacting statutory prohibitions on any new U.S. military or security aid to Azerbaijan.” The letter specifically referenced recent findings from a Government Accountability Office report that “the State Department likely violated Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act in sending this and other assistance to Azerbaijan from 2014 to 2021. They did so by not properly consulting and communicating with Congress on what processes they used to determine whether U.S. aid to Azerbaijan could be used for offensive purposes against Armenia.”

The Congressional letter also called on the House Appropriations Committee to express their concern regarding Azerbaijan’s ongoing illegal imprisonment of over 200 Armenian POWs from the 2020 Artsakh war and to direct the U.S. State Department to “to engage at all levels with Azerbaijani authorities, including through the OSCE Minsk Group process, to make clear the importance of adhering to their obligations, under the November 9 statement and international law, to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians.”

Joining Rep. Pallone in cosigning the letter to House appropriators were Representatives: Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Jim Banks (R-IN), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Joaquín Castro (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Lou Correa (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Danny Davis (D-IL), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Jim Himes (D-CT), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), James Langevin (D-RI), Andy Levin (D-MI), Mike Levin (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), James McGovern (D-MA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Richard Neal (D-MA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Susan Wild (D-PA).