Washington, D.C. - The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) has been in touch with Congressional leaders and Biden Administration officials following Azerbaijan’s recent full-scale attack upon Armenia’s southern regions. Support for legislative and Administration application of Section 907 sanctions and other measures against Azerbaijan to re-assert United States credibility and save lives is growing, for which the Assembly is grateful. Further, the continuing role of NATO-member Turkey in military actions against Armenia is a betrayal of the principles underlying the alliance. An end of the day ceasefire announced by Russia is expected to be as ineffective against Aliyev’s genocidal pattern of behavior as past ceasefires, and as the relatively small presence of Russian peacekeepers attests. Since crossing Armenia’s borders in May 2021, the Azerbaijani military has occupied approximately 41 square kilometers of sovereign Armenian territory and continues to stage assaults in its quest to have a “corridor” run though southern Armenia to the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan. Today’s attacks occurred along the narrowest part of Armenia, and are clearly designed to cut the country in two. The recent attacks resulted in the deaths of several Armenian soldiers and the capture of 12 Armenian prisoners of war. This latest assault is in clear violation of the November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021 ceasefire terms, which Azerbaijan has repeatedly undermined, and is in clear disregard of the U.S., French and Russian-led OSCE Minsk Group’s repeated statements, as well as UN resolutions, to resolve matters peacefully and to respect ceasefire conditions. Ironically, Turkey is supposed to be a member of the mediating Minsk Group but has openly and actively coordinated – and often led – military and diplomatic policies with the Aliyev regime. Armenia’s National Security Council Secretary met with U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy earlier today and emphasized the current siege as a blow to democracy. “Azerbaijan’s escalation of violence on Armenian soil is unacceptable,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). “This increase of deadly violence against Armenia will only continue unless the OSCE Minsk Group, the State Department, and the international community take immediate and decisive diplomatic action.” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that “this unprovoked attack is in direct violation of Azerbaijan and Armenia’s ceasefire agreement, and a grave reminder that the United States must be doing everything we can to deter Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression.” To that end, it is imperative that the Administration end the waiver to Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which prohibits direct U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, and to halt U.S. military assistance to the autocratic regime in Baku, which increased to over $100 million in Fiscal Year 2019. Now is the time for the Biden Administration and Congress to take decisive action. As President Biden stated in his address to Congress last April, “We will meet the challenge...by proving that democracy is durable and strong. Autocrats will not win the future.” The Assembly calls upon the Administration to end the waiver to Section 907, support Armenia’s democracy, and strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s ongoing ceasefire violations, which continue to destabilize the South Caucasus region.
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.