House Passes Karabakh Related Legistlation

WASHINGTON–During discussions of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act Tuesday–the House of Representatives passed several amendmen’s which impacted Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia directly.

The three amendmen’s have among other things–reaffirmed the US government’s neutrality in the pursuit of a solution to the Karabakh conflict–called on President Clinton to encourage regional cooperation as it relates to the transport of oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey–via Armenia–and the legislative body requested the Administration to provide a full report on the effects of the Turkish and Azeri blockades of Armenia on the transport and delivery of US humanitarian assistance.

The first amendment–sponsored by Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ)–reaffirmed the neutral position of the US as the newly-appointed co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group.

"As the world’s greatest superpower–we must recognize our important role in efforts to negotiate a settlement that will end the bloodshed," Knollenberg said.

He added–"We must remain an unbiased mediator and support an agreed-not imposed-solution."

Initiated by Rep. Pallone and Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.)–the second amendment called on the President to seek avenues of closer cooperation between Armenia–Azerbaijan and Turkey–in transporting oil from the Azeri republic to the Mediterranean Sea through Armenia. The amendment clarified that a pipeline through Armenia would help promote stability and economic growth in the Caucasus region–which would indeed improve relations among the neighboring states.

The final amendment–introduced by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) called on the Administration to compile a report on Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of Armenia–which has drained that country’s resources. The report–as asked by the House–must provide a clear picture of the effects of these blockades on the delivery of US humanitarian aid and assistance to Armenia–and the extent of direct or indirect restrictions set on US operations in the field of humanitarian assistance.

Rep. Knollenberg added–"Lives are on the line–and we must continue to take a leadership role in ending this disastrous conflict once and for all."

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