Washington, D.C. - Today, Armenian Caucus leaders, including Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and David Valadao (R-CA), along with Anna Eshoo (D-CA), sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power urging the U.S. government to "use maximum pressure" with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev to end his month-long blockade on the 120,000 Armenian people of Artsakh, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The letter emphasizes that the "current international strategy to reopen the Lachin Corridor is simply not working. Despite clearly documented evidence of the blockade and the tragic impact it is having on innocent civilians, President Aliyev continues to lie to the United States and the international community by stating that there is no blockade." "The Aliyev regime is taking premeditated steps to remove the indigenous Armenian population from Artsakh and deprive them of the opportunity to live freely, democratically, and with dignity in the land of their ancestors – a clear sign of ethnic cleansing that must not be ignored," the letter continued. The Armenian Caucus leadership referred to the perilous situation as a "man-made humanitarian crisis," which has resulted in acute shortages in Artsakh of medicine, medical treatments, and food, as well as the closure of schools. In addition, the Aliyev regime has cut off natural gas supply and prevented the repair of transmission lines, resulting in rolling blackouts during the brutally cold months of winter, which is "clearly a deliberate attempt to severely worsen the quality of life for the people living in Artsakh, including 30,000 children, 20,000 elderly and 9,000 people with disabilities." The Armenian Caucus leadership made clear that "without immediate action by the United States...conditions in Artsakh will further deteriorate," which is "Aliyev's deliberate and planned design." The leadership urged the international community to "immediately intervene and avert this potential humanitarian catastrophe" by reopening the Lachin Corridor, which serves as a "vital lifeline" and to send international observers to the Lachin Corridor and Artsakh to "explore opportunities for more effective and sustainable guarantees of security and peaceful development for the people of Artsakh." In addition, the U.S. should also consider "all available options to provide humanitarian aid to Artsakh, including a potential airlift of supplies to prevent the very real threat of starvation." "The Assembly commends the Armenian Caucus leadership for their efforts during this crucial time for the Armenian people of Artsakh," said Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. "As the situation in Artsakh worsens on a daily basis, urgent action is needed to reopen the Lachin Corridor and prevent Aliyev's strategy to eradicate the Armenian people from their ancestral homeland."
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.