Congressman Schiff, Caucus Leadership Spearhead Legislation Condemning Azerbaijan's Military Attacks
Updated: Sep 15, 2022
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) spearheaded bipartisan legislation, (H.Res.1351), along with the leadership of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, condemning Azerbaijan's unprovoked military attacks on the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh. Introduced in the House of Representatives, the Resolution calls for an "immediate and unconditional ceasefire," and for "all assistance to Azerbaijan to be immediately ceased," reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). "We applaud Chairman Schiff, along with the Caucus leadership, for introducing this timely resolution urging the cessation of all aid to Azerbaijan," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "Azerbaijan's egregious attacks against Armenia's sovereign territory undermine U.S. and international efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and is a continuation of Azerbaijan’s attempts to eliminate the centuries-old Christian presence of Armenians." Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA) said in a statement: "We strongly condemn the deadly attacks by Azeri forces in sovereign Armenian territory. This egregious escalation of Azeri violence shows just how emboldened the Aliyev regime has become when its unprovoked aggression is met by deafening silence and false equivocations from the international community – empowering Azerbaijan to continue and expand its attacks. We call on the Biden administration and State Department to unequivocally condemn Azerbaijan's actions and cease all assistance to the Aliyev regime immediately. And we stand firmly with the people of Armenia and Artsakh in support of their territorial integrity, and their right to peace and freedom."
Additional co-sponsors include Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Connie Conway (R-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), and Susan Wild (D-PA). The Resolution highlights Azerbaijan's "unprovoked assault on sovereign Armenian territory," on September 12, 2022, with intensive shelling and drone strikes on the Armenian towns of Vardenis, Jermuk, Goris, and Tatev, along with the Artsakh villages of Karmir Shuka and Taghavard, which to date, has resulted in the deaths of at least 105 Armenian soldiers and civilians, as well as scores of injuries. "Azerbaijan's actions are in flagrant violation of Armenia's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law and represent a further escalation of the Azeri aggression, which has continued unabated since the November 2020 tripartite statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia to end the Nagorno-Karabakh war," the Resolution stated. The importance of putting a stop to the annual waiver to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which gives past and present Administrations the flexibility to provide security assistance to Azerbaijan, was also underscored in the Resolution, highlighting the recent publication of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which confirmed that the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense "failed to meet statutory reporting requirements to Congress on the impact of U.S. assistance on the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan." The Resolution emphasizes that "peace, stability, and democracy in the Caucasus region are in the political, security, and economic interests of the United States and are matters of international concern," and calls for "all assistance to Azerbaijan to be immediately ceased pursuant to the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and for the Administration to make clear to President Aliyev that further attacks on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will result in sanctions or other measures." The U.S. House of Representatives "stands firmly in support of our democratic partner Armenia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and against Azerbaijan's military aggression and blatant violations of international laws and norms." The recent escalation of the conflict by Azerbaijan is a continuation of the autocratic Aliyev regime's aggressive military attacks, especially during the 44-day War on Artsakh in September 2020, when Azerbaijan launched a massive and unprovoked military assault on Artsakh, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians and soldiers, the displacement of thousands of civilians, and the continued illegal detainment of Armenian POWs. The Resolution comes on the heels of statements by Congressional leaders, including Rep. Schiff's statement expressing his "deep distress" that Azerbaijan is attacking Artsakh villages - which is in direct violation of Azerbaijan's November 9, 2020 signed ceasefire statement with Armenia –and civilian-populated centers in Armenia, which are "not disputed lands" and are clearly "internationally-recognized Armenian towns and territories." "It is a direct attack on Armenia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and yet another appalling escalation of the Azeri violence that has devastated the Armenian people for the past two years," stated Rep. Schiff, who emphasized that President Aliyev's aggression has gone unchecked and without any repercussions. "[The U.S.] must send a resounding message that there is a price to pay for such naked belligerence. Until we do, Azerbaijan will continue to terrorize the people of Armenia and Artsakh until its most horrific aims are achieved."
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.