WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) – in grassroots outreach, legislative meetings, appropriation requests, and Congressional testimony on Capitol Hill – is rolling out Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) foreign aid priorities aligned with the survival of Artsakh and security of Armenia in the face of escalating threats by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
The ANCA is asking House and Senate appropriators – particularly those that serve on the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittees, to fund direct humanitarian aid programs in Artsakh, to prohibit continued U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan, and to hold the Aliyev regime accountable for its war crimes, anti-Armenian aggression, and ongoing blockade of Artsakh. Policy priorities for Artsakh, Azerbaijan, and Armenia are provided below.
Starting in Fiscal Year 1998, Congress began sending direct U.S. aid to Artsakh in the form of maternal health care, clean drinking water, and life-saving demining by the HALO Trust. The ANCA is making the case that, in the wake of Azerbaijan’s 2020 attack, and to address the crisis arising from Azerbaijan’s prolonged blockade of the region, this aid program must be meaningfully expanded to meet the humanitarian and recovery needs confronting the families of Artsakh – estimated at well over $250,000,000 – helping them rebuild their lives and resettle in safety upon their indigenous Armenian homeland.
While encouraged by language in the FY23 Consolidated Appropriations Act mandating the Department of State in consultation with USAID prepare a humanitarian assistance strategy to support those impacted by the Artsakh War, the ANCA is requesting that Congress ensure that this strategy is delivered and implemented in order to meet short-term humanitarian needs and support a long-term investment in Artsakh. In terms of the FY24 bill, the ANCA is requesting $75 million for Artsakh:
Refugee Relief: $20,000,000
Food Security: $15,000,000
Energy Security: $10,000,000
The ANCA continues to communicate its outrage over the Biden Administration’s reckless and irresponsible decision to continue U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan, in the wake of Azerbaijan’s 2020 attack on Artsakh, its assaults and occupation of sovereign Armenian territory, and ongoing blockade of Artsakh. The ANCA is making the case that sending U.S. military aid to Baku – including Section 333 (Capacity Building), Foreign Military Financing, and International Military Education and Training –materially adds to Baku’s equipment stores, tactical abilities, and offensive capabilities, and frees up state resources for renewed cross-border action against both Artsakh and Armenia. In addition to the material impact the provision of military assistance has had on Azerbaijan’s capacity to wage its war of aggression against the Armenian people, the continuation of U.S. military assistance is viewed by Azerbaijan as a green-light for renewed aggression against Armenia and Artsakh.
In light of Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of Artsakh and the humanitarian crisis it has created – which the Administration has noted undermines the prospects for peace in the region – the ANCA contends that the Administration should strictly enforce Section 907, and that Congress, for its part, should rescind the President’s authority to waive this provision of U.S. law, and enact statutory prohibitions on any new U.S. military or security aid to Azerbaijan.
The ANCA is explaining to legislators, new and old, that Armenia – an ancient Christian nation deeply rooted in Western democratic values – has, despite the crushing economic impact of Turkish and Azerbaijani aggression and blockades, stepped forward as an ally and partner for the United States on a broad array of complex regional challenges. Armenia is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace and the Armenian military has been among the highest per capita providers of peacekeepers to U.S.-led deployments, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Kosovo, and Mali. Today, given the existential regional threats to the Armenian homeland, the ANCA is pressing policy-makers to urgently prioritize the security and viability of Artsakh and Armenia, above domestic and reform agendas.