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Armenian Americans Rally in Support of Artsakh; Members of Congress Condemn Azerbaijan's Blockade

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Washington, D.C. - As Azerbaijan blockades the only road connecting Armenia and Artsakh, Members of Congress continue to speak out, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). In a letter spearheaded by Armenian Caucus Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), he urged the Biden Administration to lift Azerbaijan’s blockade and provide humanitarian assistance to Artsakh.

"In addition to the bipartisan Armenian Caucus statement last week and the letter by Representative Adam Schiff, the Assembly welcomes and appreciates statements by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jack Reed (D-RI), and Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Michelle Steel (R-CA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Young Kim (R-CA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Judy Chu (D-CA)," said Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. In his statement, Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, slammed Aliyev's "weaponization of winter" against the people of Artsakh, which is "straight out of the authoritarian playbook." He added that "democracies worldwide must swiftly condemn the coercive gas cuts and blockade by Aliyev and his proxies." In addition to his statement, Senator Menendez delivered a speech on the Senate Floor yesterday evening, where he referenced Turkey's continued denial of the Armenian Genocide, abuses against Armenia, and its full and open support of Azerbaijan, wherein "Turkey sold Azerbaijan $77 million of military equipment that was used to attack innocent Armenians." He emphatically stated that "if standing up to human rights abuses makes me an enemy of [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan – if calling out Turkey for arming Azerbaijan and enabling the massacre of innocent Armenian civilians makes me an enemy of Erdogan...then it is a badge I will wear with honor." Chairman Menendez also made it clear that he would not approve the sale of any F-16's to Turkey until Erdoğan "halts his campaign of aggression across the entire region," and that the U.S. should hold Erdoğan "accountable for his behavior when he violates international laws, or challenges democratic norms, or allows his forces to commit human rights abuses." Senator Reed, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated that Azerbaijan is "creating unacceptable and untenable humanitarian risks for the people of Artsakh," and stressed the importance of the U.S. to "continue to press for access to be restored and for negotiation to resume." Rep. Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, emphasized that Azerbaijan is "intentionally blocking Artsakh's only connection to food, medical supplies, and heat in the dead of winter," calling the humanitarian crisis part of "Aliyev's ongoing terror campaign against the Armenian people," and urging that the "U.S. cannot idly stand by." Rep. Eshoo "strongly condemned Azerbaijan's cruel blockade of Artsakh," while Rep. Clark said that the U.S. "must help secure peace and hold Azerbaijan accountable." Rep. Steel also stated that she "strongly condemns" Azerbaijan's blockade of Artsakh, and that the "Administration should take immediate action to bring about an end to this aggression."

In his statement, Rep. Sherman said: "The international community must unequivocally condemn this egregious provocation and take every available and necessary step to support the Armenian people during this critical situation." Citing Azerbaijan's blockade as "inexcusable," Rep. McClintock said that he "strongly condemns this act of unjust aggression" and urged the U.S. to "hold Azerbaijan accountable." "The Armenian Assembly urges its grassroots activists from across the country to continue to reach out to Members of Congress, and the mainstream media, to make our voices heard to help the Armenian people in the face of this growing humanitarian crisis," concluded Khaloyan.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.  ###

NR# 2022-65

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