Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, the Democratic U.S. senators from New Jersey, issued a statement condemning Azerbaijan’s brazen attack this week on military and civilian targets in Armenia’s Tavush Province. The two lawmakers also called for ending U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan.
“We are deeply concerned about the reports of violence along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Azerbaijan, with Turkey’s support, has chosen a path of violence instead of the peaceful, negotiated process spearheaded by the OSCE Minsk Group. We urge a stop to the fighting and immediate resumption of peace talk,” said Menendez and Booker.
“Baku’s recent actions have only exacerbated violence and hindered efforts to reach lasting stability and peaceful end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, forcing us to once again raise serious questions about our current levels of military assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan,” added the senators.
“Providing nearly $120 million in security assistance to a regime that flouts a peace process co-chaired by the U.S. is absurd. We call on the Trump administration to immediately halt this assistance and fully respect Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act,” explained the lawmakers.
“Thank you to senators Menendez and Booker and all those—in the Senate and House—who have condemned Baku’s unprovoked attack on Armenia and called for an immediate halt on U.S. aid and arms transfers to Azerbaijan,” said Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“We are encouraged by the strong bipartisan response to the Aliyev’s reckless cross-border attack and will continue to educate and engage American legislators about Azerbaijan’s escalating threats to the region and beyond during a global pandemic,” added Hamparian.
Alarmed by a U.S. military aid program to Azerbaijan that has “skyrocketed” to more than $120 million over the past three fiscal years, in June Menendez formally requested that the Government Accountability Office provide the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a detailed report on this assistance program and its compliance with Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
Enacted in 1992, Section 907 places statutory restrictions and requirements on U.S. taxpayer funding to Azerbaijan until that government takes “demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”