Export-Import Bank Approves Controversial Baku Satellite Financing Deal

The Azerspace Satellite (Orbital photo)

Bank President Offers Written Assurance to ANCA that Satellite Lacks Military Capabilities

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Export-Import Bank Wednesday voted to approve a controversial deal to finance Azerbaijan’s purchase of an advanced satellite just weeks after Azerbaijan threatened to shoot down a civilian airliner. The decision comes despite serious Congressional reservations and strong opposition by the Armenian American community to U.S. actions that will strengthen Azerbaijan’s military capabilities at a time of increasing threats and acts of aggression by Baku against both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“We are troubled that the Export-Import Bank chose to move forward with this ill-advised deal,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “The Obama Administration’s business-as-usual approach with Ilham Aliyev, who has been seriously preparing for war, undermines America’s long term interests in stability in this region.  We should not, in any way, use American resources to reward warmongering or add to the capabilities of a dictator, who is openly threatening to use every asset at his disposal to renew his country’s aggression,” he added.

“The Bank’s written assurance to us, in the form of a letter from its President Fred P. Hochberg, that the satellite ‘lack[s] military capabilities’ and that it has taken ‘appropriate safeguards’ to keep this satellite out of the hands of ‘military entities,’ falls short of the level of transparency that should be required of a highly sensitive deal of this nature.  We continue to call upon the Administration to fully disclose this contract, and to publicly reveal the terms of any and all obligations entered into by either the U.S. or Azerbaijani governments regarding this transaction,” he continued.

The Export-Import Bank approval of this satellite deal follows a long string of broken promises by the Obama Administration on issues related to Armenia and the region.

Over the past three months, the ANCA has conveyed the Armenian American community’s serious legal, technical and political opposition to this transaction in a series of letters and meetings with senior officials of the Export-Import Bank and the State Department.  The firm selling this satellite, known as Azerspace/Africasat-1A, is Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia. It is being purchased by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The application for Ex-Im financing was made by BNP-Parabis of New York City, and the loan is being guaranteed by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Finance.

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9 Comments

  1. Random Armenian said:

    The satellite is not a spy satellite in that it can take visual images. The worst thing I can see is that it’s used for communications by the military. Any rocket scientists here that can come up with other possible military uses?

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  3. zohrab said:

    dont worry about it the americans will just take their moneygood luck

  4. Arthur I said:

    Donald Trump for Armenia’s president campaign slogan: We need to go in (to Azerbaijan) and take the oil!

  5. bigmoustache said:

    when all odds are stacked against us, this is when we do our best! bring it on!

  6. Manvel said:

    I hope their satellite goes just as well as their stupid flag in their stupid capital. (a failure)

  7. MGL said:

    bigmoushache,
    Are you in Armenia or Karabakh?
    If you aren’t, then don’t scream ‘bring it on’

  8. Parma said:

    The controversial deal to finance Azerbaijan’s purchase of an advanced satellite must have military capabilities. I don’t trust the Export-Import Bank’s President Fred P. Hochberg explanation. There is something fishy in here.

  9. bigmoustache said:

    if this was israel they wouldnt hesitate to destroy it. whats wrong with armenians?

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