WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian Americans and allies across the U.S. are joining the Armenian National Committee of America‘s (ANCA) call on President Biden and Congressional leaders to fundamentally reset U.S. policy toward the South Caucasus, taking concrete steps to: protect Artsakh’s security; defend Armenia’s sovereignty, hold Baku and Ankara responsible for their war crimes and ongoing hostility; strengthen the U.S.-Armenia strategic partnership, and; lock-in permanent U.S. government-wide remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
The ANCA-led online campaign – anca.org/priorities – has been used by tens of thousands to share community outrage that U.S. leaders have “failed to openly condemn and materially confront the aggression, war crimes, and human rights abuses committed by dictatorial Azerbaijan and its Turkish/ISIS allies against democratic Artsakh and Armenia. Our government – against all evidence – refuses to condemn the very violence that Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev proudly boasts of having visited upon Armenians living peacefully in their indigenous homeland.”
The ANCA outlines seven decisive ways President Biden and Congressional leaders can end U.S. complicity in Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression against Armenia and Artsakh, including:
— Ending the Presidential waiver of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, fully enforcing this statute, and ceasing any and all U.S. military or security assistance to Azerbaijan, including Section 333 (Capacity Building), Foreign Military Financing, and International Military Education and Training – on the basis of Section 502B(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act, the Leahy Laws, Section 907, and other provisions of U.S. law.
— Providing at least $100,000,000 in immediate, direct U.S. humanitarian aid to the more than 100,000 Armenians ethnically cleansed by Azerbaijan from their Artsakh homeland, helping these families rebuild their lives and resettle in safety upon their indigenous Armenian homeland.
— Directing the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control to enforce Global Magnitsky sanctions against senior Azerbaijani officials guilty of committing war crimes against Artsakh and Armenia, among them President Ilham Aliyev, Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov, and former Chief of the General Staff Sadikov Najmeddin Huseynoglu.
— Condemning Azerbaijan’s illegal detention and documented abuse of Armenian prisoners of war, demanding their immediate and unconditional release, under the Third Geneva Convention and other instruments of international law. This call should be unilateral, publicly and prominently highlighting the fact that Azerbaijan is the only party to the conflict to hold prisoners of war.
— Conducting a comprehensive investigation – consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 – regarding Turkey’s recruitment of Syrian terrorist mercenaries, Azerbaijan’s use of illegal cluster bombs and white phosphorous, and potential violations of U.S. arms export and other laws related to the discovery of U.S. parts in the Turkish drones deployed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh.
— Denouncing Turkey’s material military backing of Azerbaijan’s ethnic-cleansing of Artsakh and ongoing aggression against Armenia, and actively countering Ankara’s attempts to arm-twist Armenia into “normalizing” bilateral ties at the expense of Artsakh’s independence and justice for the Armenian Genocide.
— Censuring Azerbaijan’s destruction of Christian Armenian churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and other holy sites, and providing the full range of U.S. satellite and other monitoring resources to academic and civil society organizations tracking this cultural and religious desecration.
“Azerbaijan’s aggression and ongoing anti-Armenian actions are clearly consistent with President Ilham Aliyev’s public threats to conquer Armenia, including its capital Yerevan and its Sevan and Sunik regions as “historic Azerbaijani territory.” The intentions of Azerbaijan – and its enabler Turkey – are manifestly evident: To continue their aggression against Armenia and Artsakh with the ultimate goal of the genocidal destruction of the first Christian nation,” states the letter to U.S. leaders.
Less than two weeks into the New Year, Azerbaijan ramped up attacks against Artsakh civilians on January 10th in three separate incidents in Martuni, Askeran, and the Goris-Stepanakert Highway. Shots were reported in Martuni’s Karmir Shuka village, resulting in the explosion of a car parked near the local kindergarten. In Askeran, Russian forces intervened to stop Azerbaijani attacks on Armenian pomegranate farmers, who were forced to flee to safety, leaving behind farm equipment damaged in the incident. Armenian motorists reported being struck by rocks thrown by Azerbaijani forces onto the Goris-Stepanakert Highway, near the Shushi exit. The Artsakh Foreign Ministry condemned the attacks, stating they once again prove that “the ‘peace-loving’ statements of the Azerbaijani authorities have nothing to do with the real terrorist and expansionist goals of that country towards Artsakh, the Armenian people and the region.”