Calls on White House and Congress to cut all military aid and sanction Azerbaijan; provide humanitarian assistance to Artsakh victims
WASHINGTON — Armenian National Committee of America Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan issued a powerful call for the Biden Administration to be held accountable for their continued support and arming of genocidal Azerbaijan, and urging immediate U.S. action to cut all military aid and sanctions on Azerbaijan for the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh’s 120,000 indigenous Armenian Christian population.
Yerimyan’s remarks, shared in full below, were offered during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Friday dedicated to Artsakh and other persecuted Christian communities, hosted by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and organized by In Defense of Christians, For the Martyrs, and the 120,000 Reasons Coalition, including the ANCA.
Remarks by ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan
September 29, 2023
Capitol Hill Press Conference
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen –
I want to thank our host, Congressman Brad Sherman, and our organizer and coalition partner, In Defense of Christians, for bringing all of us together for a day of advocacy on human rights issues affecting all of our persecuted brothers and sisters.
Today, as Americans, we are rightfully, righteously angered that our government – the Biden Administration – has armed and abetted – aided and emboldened – Azerbaijan’s oil-rich Aliyev regime, which is today committing real-time genocide against Artsakh’s 120,000 indigenous Armenian Christians.
As you all know, Azerbaijan’s aggression, with the solid backing of Turkey, has caused immense suffering and has violated international law – including Articles II(b) and II(c) of the Genocide Convention.
We gather here today to hold our government accountable.
To save all that can be saved.
And to rededicate ourselves to the proposition that this must never happen again – to those remaining on the ground in Artsakh, those living in fear today in Armenia, or any people anywhere around the world.
President Joe Biden’s recent words at the United Nations General Assembly ring all too hollow:
“If we abandon the core principles of the United Nations to appease an aggressor,
can any member state of this body feel confident that they will be protected?”
There is truth in his words, but no action to follow them up.
Our State Department recently vowed before Congress that it would not “tolerate” any Azerbaijani attacks on Artsakh – and then did just that.
We have seen no American leadership at all against Ilham Aliyev – this generation’s Saddam Hussein.
Only empty promises for Armenians.
Arms for Azerbaijan’s military.
Flowers for Artsakh’s funeral
A betrayal of the very principles we claim to champion.
As the granddaughter of a Genocide survivor – with family and friends driven from Artsakh this very week – it is hard to hear the U.S. proclaim “never again.”
While we ship arms to the side doing it – again and again.
While blocking U.S. aid to Artsakh, during nine long months under blockade.
The record shows that the Administration did not lift a finger to break Azerbaijan’s blockade.
No cut-off of military aid to Baku.
No sanctions on Aliyev.
A shameful abandonment of our moral duty.
A dangerous signal to the authoritarians of this world.
A green light for the next genocide.
Even at this late date, after more than half of Artsakh has been forcibly ethnically cleansed, President Biden refuses to enforce the U.S. law restricting aid to Azerbaijan – refuses to enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.
This is a message of weakness, not strength.
Of surrender to the forces of intolerance.
Of a betrayal not only of our values but our interests.
Because Azerbaijan is not our ally.
They bust our sanctions and blockade starving children.
The Aliyev family runs an oil-rich dictatorship.
Their children own hundreds of millions of dollars of property across Europe and the Middle East.
They do not need – and surely do not deserve – our American tax dollars.
We can stop that aid today. President Biden can enforce Section 907, or our Congress can roll back the President’s authority to waive this law.
It’s that simple. If the political will exists.
We are blessed to stand today in solidarity with our partners – in support of persecuted Christians in Artsakh, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and around the world.
We must, for all these at-risk faith communities, demand American leadership – American action.
For Artsakh, that begins with calling out Azerbaijan’s genocide against Artsakh – then cutting off military aid to Azerbaijan, enforcing sanctions against its dictator, and sending robust U.S. humanitarian aid to more than a hundred thousand homeless refugees.
Here in Washington, that means holding the Biden Administration accountable for its complicity.
For absent such accountability – for as long as genocide remains good for business – we create the conditions for more genocide.
And that we cannot – and will never accept.