Washington, D.C. - A bipartisan initiative led by Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ), Jim Costa (D-CA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA), addressed a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development Samantha Power, urging them to take a strong stance to support Armenia and prevent Azerbaijan from further attacking the Armenian people, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The letter details the use of sanctions on Azerbaijan, ending all U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan, providing humanitarian assistance to Armenia, releasing prisoners of war and Artsakh government officials, providing security assistance to Armenia, and protecting Armenia's territorial sovereignty. Highlighting the importance of promoting peace in the South Caucasus, the Members of Congress provide "concrete steps" to preserve Armenia's territorial integrity and express that the "United States must take bold actions to help democratic Armenia to protect itself against destabilizing, autocratic regimes like Azerbaijan." Referring to the Administration's announcement of $11.5 million in humanitarian aid to help communities impacted by the Azerbaijani military attack on Artsakh, the letter states that the U.S. "must continue providing additional humanitarian assistance to Armenia to aid refugees who fled to Armenia from Artsakh" and "further encourage continued U.S. diplomatic engagement" to prevent "an all-out war in the South Caucasus." "Signals from Azerbaijani President Aliyev indicate that his campaign of ethnic cleansing will not cease with his military attacks on Artsakh," the letter continues, citing reports that Putin, Erdogan, and Aliyev have "recently agreed to a deal in principle to dismantle the current Armenian state by allowing Azerbaijan to invade southern Armenia with full impunity." "If these reports are accurate, this plan would trigger the full-scale invasion of a sovereign, democratic country whose foreign policy has made a sharp turn to the U.S. and the West." Among the strong actions the U.S. can take to deter Azerbaijan's aggression, the letter underscores the use of the Global Magnitsky Act to "sanction President Aliyev and other Azerbaijani officials for their role in the military attack on and dissolution of Artsakh and associated atrocities and human rights violations," as well as ending all U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan by enforcing Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act. The importance of providing strong security assistance to Armenia will help maintain peace and stability in the region, in addition to creating an international monitoring and peacekeeping force in Armenia to prevent a potential invasion. The letter concludes by stating that the U.S. should "continue demonstrating [its] global leadership by taking strong actions to deter threats to the free, sovereign, and democratic Republic of Armenia." "The Assembly applauds the Members of Congress for their relentless efforts to bring much-needed awareness and action to not only the Armenian people of Artsakh who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, but to prevent a potential attack onto sovereign Armenia," stated Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. The letter was cosigned by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Dina Titus (D-NV), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and James McGovern (D-MA).
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.