Updated: Jun 11, 2021
Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Leadership
Prioritizes Key Amendments Before House Rules Committee
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, in a letter addressed to the Secretaries of State and Defense, Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), raised concerns about Azerbaijan’s attacks against both civilian and military sites along its internationally recognized border with Armenia, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
In addition, the letter urged assertive action for “Azerbaijan to accept international monitoring and implement the principles of the 2015 Royce-Engel proposals,” which included the deployment of gunfire locators, the addition of OSCE-affiliated observers, and the recalling the of deployment of snipers, heavy arms, and new weaponry along the Artsakh line-of-contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
The letter also highlighted the lawmakers’ concerns with respect to “the $100 million in security assistance the United States sent to Azerbaijan over the last two years through the Section 333 Building Partner Capacity program” and “fear that money will be used by Azerbaijan against Armenia.” “The United States should not be aiding and abetting a reckless, autocratic state like Azerbaijan for any reason, especially not when it threatens a democratic partner like Armenia,” the lawmakers stated.
Given Azerbaijan’s deadly attacks, including threats to target Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant and the disproportionate level of military assistance provided by the United States, the Assembly has prioritized key amendments before the House Rules Committee, including Representative Jackie Speier’s amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to restore the long-standing policy of parity in funding between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Her amendment, which also enjoys the support of Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) would require parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan with respect to funding under Section 333 Building Partner Capacity program.
The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet on Friday, July 17 to consider amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, wherein Armenian Assembly-supported amendments by Reps. Sherman and Pallone have also been submitted.
“We commend Congresswoman Speier along with Representatives Pallone and Sherman for their timely amendments,” stated Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. Taken together, these Members, through their amendments, are sending a strong message that attacks against Armenia and Artsakh and their civilian populations are reprehensible and will not go unanswered.”
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.