Azeri Deputies Urge US Reps. to Drop Military Aid Restrictions

NEW YORK (APA)–Azeri Parliamentarians, were in New York this week meeting with US congressmen to shore up support for Azerbaijan’s interests in the region, urging an immediate repeal of a key piece of legislation preventing the United States from funding the Azerbaijani military, the Azeri Press Agency reported.

During their visit, deputies Ganira Pashayeva and Hayva Mammadova, met with New York Representatives Gary Achkerman, Jerrold Nadler, Steve Israel, Yvette Clarke, Michael McMahon, as well as Senator Kirsten Gillbrand.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict topped the agenda of their talks, which were also attended by representatives from the Azerbaijan Society of America, the Azerbaijani-American Council, the US Azeris Network, the Azerbaijani American Council in Azerbaijan, and the Caucasus Society of Azerbaijani Jews living in America.

Throughout their meetings Pashayeva and Mammadova, bolstered Azerbaijan’s “significant role” in US energy security policy, asserting that Armenia’s “aggressive policies” and its “continued occupation of 20% of Azerbaijan” posed direct threats to peace and stability in the region.

The two deputies also lobbied heavily for a reversal of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which they described as an “unfair” roadblock to “positive US-Azerbaijan relations.”

Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, passed at the height of the Karabakh conflict in 1992, bans any kind of direct United States aid to the Azerbaijani government until Baku takes “demonstratable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The act was passed in response to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Armenia and its full-scale invasion of the Nagorno-Karabakh, an indigenous Armenian region that had recently declared independence from its former Soviet masters.

The Azeri delegation also attended an annual meeting of the Jewish Community Relations Committee to talk about how “Jews were perfectly treated” in Azerbaijan.

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