WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which cites Azerbaijan’s most recent attacks on Armenia, called on the Biden administration to “end all security assistance to Azerbaijan and all aid programs to the country.” review,” he said. the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)
“We would like to thank President Menendez for his principled, firm and persistent leadership in halting all US military aid to Azerbaijan — an urgent undertaking made all the more urgent by Aliyev’s bombing, invasion and occupation of sovereign Armenian soil,” the National Council said. of the ANCA. Member Ani Tchaghlasian, from the Garden State. “Working with Senator Menendez, we are committed to pursuing legal and all other avenues available to us to stem the flow of US tax dollars into the overtly aggressive and violent anti-Armenian regime of oil-rich Azerbaijan.”
In a powerfully worded September 22 letter To Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Menendez declared, “The United States must play no role in supporting authoritarian violence,” and pledged to work with Senate and House colleagues to extend the presidential waiver power of Section 907 (Public Law 107-115) to lift restrictions on US aid to Azerbaijan.
Chairman Menendez stressed that an investigation he commissioned by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) detailing U.S. aid to Azerbaijan found that the State Department “failed to comply with regulatory reporting requirements to Congress on the impact of US aid during the assessment period. While the State Department agrees with the GAO on its recommendations to ensure that the necessary requirements are met to invoke the waiver, it has not yet provided action plans to the GAO on how it will address this concern.
He further stressed that the “administration should not minimize the Azerbaijani attack in an attempt to appear impartial. President Biden said in his 2022 State of the Union address, “…when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos.” The United States has an important opportunity to assist the Armenian people as they try to fend off an authoritarian attack.”
Earlier this week, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said had become a member by seven Senate colleagues in a letter to the State Department and the Ministry of Defense stating that, “In light of Azerbaijan’s recent and repeated acts against Armenia, the United States should stop providing security assistance to Azerbaijan until Armenia and Azerbaijan pass a permanent and lasting resolution that respects the will of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
September 22, 2022
The Honorable Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Blink Secretary,
I am writing to express my deep concern about the renewed attacks by Azerbaijani on Armenian territory, including on civilian infrastructure. These unprovoked and illegal attacks on communities such as Kapan, Goris, Jermuk, Vardenis and Tchakaten, which are reported to have killed more than 100 Armenians, serve to underscore the brutality of the Aliyev regime. In light of the renewed Azerbaijani aggression, I urge you to stop all security assistance to Azerbaijan and review all aid programs for the country.
This horrific attack on Armenian territory is just the latest example in a pattern of Azerbaijani brutality. Azerbaijan’s aggression during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War resulted in the deaths of 6,500 people and displaced nearly 100,000 ethnic Armenians. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its country reports on human rights practices for 2021, highlighted the illegal detention of Armenian soldiers and civilians in Baku, and credible reports of unlawful killings and torture by Azerbaijani armed forces. Aliyev’s army reportedly used illegal cluster munitions and phosphor bombs and posted videos of beheadings online. The unequivocal aggression of Azerbaijan cannot be tolerated.
The United States should not play a role in supporting authoritarian violence. Therefore, I will continue to work in Congress to remove the waiver power under the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-115) that the government has used annually to provide certain types of security assistance. to the Aliyev regime. But even under current legislation, the State Department needs to do more to assess the impact of US aid on the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan. I commissioned a Government Accountability Office assessment of US aid to Azerbaijan, which found that the State Department failed to meet regulatory reporting requirements to Congress on the impact of US aid during the assessment period. While the State Department agrees with the GAO on its recommendations to ensure that the necessary requirements are met to invoke the waiver, it has not yet provided the GAO with action plans on how it will address this concern.
As we witness from Azerbaijan’s most recent attack, the government should not downplay the Azerbaijani attack in an attempt to appear impartial. President Biden said in his 2022 State of the Union address, “…when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos.” The United States has an important opportunity to assist the Armenian people in their effort to fend off an authoritarian attack.