Washington, D.C. - The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) welcomed language in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023 NDAA) that condemns the "September violations of the November 9, 2020 ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan," and makes clear that the "use of force or threat of force" to pursue diplomatic objectives is "completely unacceptable." Despite the November 9, 2020 ceasefire statement, Azerbaijan continues to illegally hold and imprison Armenian POWs and captured civilians, while continuously launching attacks on sovereign Armenia, most recently on September 13, 2022. Given that Azerbaijan, with the full and open support of Turkey, regularly commits border violations, and initiates clashes that threaten the security of the Armenian people and results in the loss of hundreds of soldiers' lives, the Assembly calls on President Biden to send observers to Armenia to help prevent another genocide. The joint explanatory statement that accompanies the Bill also makes clear that the "continued detention of POWs in violation of the laws of war and international commitments is unacceptable," and calls for the return of all POWs and the "immediate release of all captured civilians." In addition, the joint explanatory statement underscored the imperative of relevant congressional committees receiving a "report on Azerbaijan" that the U.S. Department of Defense "must deliver…as soon as possible." The report requires "an assessment of the use of United States weapons systems or controlled technology that were employed;" as well as "a description of the foreign actors" and efforts to "recruit" foreign fighters in the Fall 2020 war and "any violations" of the November 9, 2020 trilateral statement, including the "continued detention of prisoners of war." Finally, the Bill contained language relating to a provision that would "prohibit the President from selling or authorizing a license for export of new F-16 aircraft or F-16 upgrade technology or modernization kits to Turkey...we believe that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies should not conduct unauthorized territorial overflights of another NATO ally's airspace." "The language in the FY2023 NDAA makes it clear that all Armenian POWs and captured civilians must be released,” stated Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan.
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.