S. Military Aid to Baku

WASHINGTON–DC–President Haydar Aliyev’s announcement this week that he is ready to resolve the Nagorno Karabagh conflict militarily has prompted renewed concerns in Armenia and among Armenian Americans that the U.S. military aid that Secretary Powell has recently proposed sending to Azerbaijan will be used by Azerbaijan for its stated purpose of fighting what its senior leadership is now describing as an "anti-terrorist" war against Nagorno Karabagh–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) According to an October 17th Agence France Presse (AFP) article–titled "Azeri President: We are ready to go war to win back Karabakh," President Aliyev–in a televised speech commemorating the 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s independence–stated "We will definitely get it [Nagorno Karabagh] back. We have everything we need to do that. If it cannot be done peacefully–then we will get it back with the help of our army." According to the AFP article–"It was the third time this year Aliyev has publicly threatened military action over Nagorno-Karabakh."President Aliyev’s statement comes just days after two key Azerbaijani cabinet officials issued similar threats of aggression. According to an October 8th Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) report by correspondent Liz Fuller–"Foreign Minister Vilayat Quliev argued that while the Azerbaijani leadership continues to seek to resolve the Karabakh conflict peacefully–if the country were ultimately constrained to resort to force to liberate its lands from "terrorists," then the international community would have no right to condemn that move as aggression." In the same article–Fuller reported that Defense Minister Colonel General Safar Abiev–also a proponent of a possible military solution to the Karabagh conflict–had received assurances from Turkish President Necmetdin Sezer that "Ankara will support Baku ‘in all spheres’ and will do all in its power to help resolve the Karabakh conflict." These renewed threats come as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has stepped up the Administration’s efforts to eliminate restrictions on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan. In an October 15th letter to key Senate and House members–he advocated lifting sanctions–in part–to open the door to U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan. Secretary Powell argued that–"Removal of these restrictions will allow the United States to provide necessary military assistance that will enable Azerbaijan to counter terrorist organizations and elemen’s operating within its borders."Below find an ANCA fact sheet distributed to members of Congress in response to Secretary Powell’s letter.

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