* Armenian Democrats applaud Sen. Paul Sarbanes for rallying Democrats and building bipartisan support for McConnell/Abraham Amendment.
WASHINGTON–Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland rallied more than three fourths of his Senate Democratic colleagues today in a bipartisan defense of Section 907 against a sustained legislative attack by Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback.
After several hours of debate on Brownback’s anti-907 initiative–known as the Silk Road bill–the Senate voted 53 to 45 to maintain the restriction on US aid to the government of Azerbaijan. Thirty-four of the 45 Democrats (75 percent) in the Senate voted to save Section 907–while 19 of the Senate’s 55 Republicans (34 percent).
As a result–the Senate version of the FY2000 foreign aid bill will not include language eliminating or weakening Section 907–which was first enacted in 1992 to restrict US aid to the government of Azerbaijan for as long as it blockades Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia.
"Senator Sarbanes deserves enormous credit for ensuring that American tax dollars are not sent overseas to subsidize an oil-rich and corrupt Azerbaijani government," commented Alex Sardar–Executive Director of the AADLC. "He also deserves high praise for reaching across party lines to work with Senators Mitch McConnell and Spencer Abraham to build a bipartisan consensus in support of common-sense foreign policy in the Caucasus."
Speaking eloquently and forcefully in support of the McConnell/Abraham amendment to save Section 907–Senator Sarbanes remarked that: "Section 907–in my judgment–made sense when it was enacted and it continues to make sense today. To waive it in the absence of any progress toward a lifting of the blockade (against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh) would reward the government of Azerbaijan for its intransigence and remove a major incentive for good faith negotiations from one side in the conflict."
The AADLC also salutes Senate Democrats Robert Torricelli of New Jersey–John Kerry of Massachusetts–Barbara Boxer of California–Richard Durbin of Illinois–Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts–Jack Reed of Rhode Island–and the many others who supported Senator Sarbanes’ efforts.
The AADLC works with the Democratic National Committee to foster support within the Armenian American community for the Democratic Party and national Democratic office holders–while promoting the election of Armenian American Democrats to political office and encouraging participation by Armenian American Democrats at all levels of the public policy process.