ANCA Calls on Speaker Pelosi to Stop All Military Aid to Azerbaijan

ANCA Chairman issues urgent appeal on eve of Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Armenia

September 16, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has called on U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take immediate action to stop all military assistance to Azerbaijan, which invaded Armenia this week and continues to ethnically cleanse indigenous Armenians from their Artsakh homeland.

In a strongly worded letter sent on the eve of Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Armenia, ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian explained, “a halt to U.S. aid to Azerbaijan would also meaningfully challenge our State Department’s deeply flawed policy of answering every act of Azerbaijani aggression with generic calls upon all parties to refrain from violence. This failed policy of false parity is as destructive as it is dangerous, emboldening the aggressor and abandoning their victims.” Hamparian continued, “even more broadly, cutting off aid to Azerbaijan, in addition to protecting Armenians and promoting peace, would reinforce America’s commitment to centering human rights as a core tenet of our foreign policy.”

Speaking for the Armenian community and coalition partners, Hamparian urged the Speaker to take concrete legislative action to “secure enactment of stand-alone legislation, provisions in the FY23 State-Foreign Operations bill, the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act, or other legislative measures, repealing the President’s authority to waive Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, and/or statutorily prohibiting any funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the U.S. Congress to be provided to or for the Government of Azerbaijan for U.S. military or security programs.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

On Thursday, Politico broke the news that Speaker Pelosi and Armenian American Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) will be traveling to Yerevan on September 17th. The visit comes just days after the Azerbaijani forces launched a heavy artillery attack using mortars and drones on Armenian military and civilian infrastructure in Sotk, Vardenis, Goris, Kapan, Artanish, Jermuk, and Iskhanasar, located on Armenia’s eastern border with Azerbaijan. Over 100 Armenians have been confirmed killed, and 80 injured, during the ongoing Azerbaijani incursion into sovereign Armenia territory. The unprovoked attack is the largest on Armenian territory since the 2020 Turkey and Azerbaijan-led 44-day war against Artsakh and Armenia, which claimed over 5000 Armenian lives.

Since this latest Azerbaijani incursion, over 45 U.S. Senate and House members have condemned President Aliyev’s aggression against Armenia. For a complete list and to encourage President Biden and Congressional leaders to take action, visit https://anca.org/907.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was joined by Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders in introducing legislation (H.Res.1351) calling for an immediate end to U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, and condemning President Aliyev’s unprovoked attack against Armenia and Artsakh. The bi-partisan resolution already has over 25 cosponsors.

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Text of ANCA Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

September 15, 2022
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Capitol, Room H-305
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

I am writing to ask you, in the context of your visit to the Caucasus, to immediately stop U.S. tax-payer funding to an Azerbaijani military that is, as I write this letter, killing Armenians, bombing Armenian cities, invading Armenian land, and ethnically-cleansing Armenians from their indigenous Artsakh homeland.

The urgency of our request is underscored by the brutal 44-day war and ethnic-cleansing campaign that Azerbaijan launched in 2020 against Artsakh and, more recently, by the renewed attack into the Republic of Armenia over the past week. In the wake of this aggression, Congress must stop shipping U.S. tax dollars to Azerbaijani President Aliyev’s armed forces.

A halt to U.S. aid to Azerbaijan would also meaningfully challenge our State Department’s deeply flawed policy of answering every act of Azerbaijani aggression with generic calls upon all parties to refrain from violence. This failed policy of false parity is as destructive as it is dangerous, emboldening the aggressor and abandoning their victims. Even more broadly, cutting off aid to Azerbaijan, in addition to protecting Armenians and promoting peace, would reinforce America’s commitment to centering human rights as a core tenet of our foreign policy.

The more than $164,000,000 that our U.S. government has provided to Azerbaijan, under successive Presidential waivers of Section 907, have materially strengthened and morally emboldened Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian aggression. We regret that President Biden – despite his campaign calls for the enforcement of Section 907 – has twice waived this common sense law.

As you know, the General Accountability Office, in an assessment released earlier this year, concluded that the Department of State and Pentagon have failed to meet statutory reporting requirements regarding the impact of such aid on the peace process and regional military balance. The Executive Branch has clearly abused the authorities granted by Congress. It is now time to reclaim these rights and respect both the spirit and letter of Section 907, a longstanding law aimed simply at holding Azerbaijan accountable for its aggression.

Our community and coalition partners ask specifically that you secure enactment of stand-alone legislation, provisions in the FY23 State-Foreign Operations bill, the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act, or other legislative measures, repealing the President’s authority to waive Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, and/or statutorily prohibiting any funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the U.S. Congress to be provided to or for the Government of Azerbaijan for U.S. military or security programs. Such programs include, but are not limited to, Foreign Military Financing, International Military Education and Training, and Section 333 Capacity Building.

On behalf of Americans of Armenian heritage, I thank you for your longstanding record of friendship with our community and express our appreciation for your consideration of our request. We look forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Sincerely,

Raffi Haig Hamparian
Chairman

Cc: U.S. Representative Jackie Speier, U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo, Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Armenian National Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street NW Washington, DC 20036
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