WASHINGTON–During a Senate hearing last week–Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes repeatedly pressed Administration officials to justify their ongoing campaign–through the "Silk Road" bill–to provide direct US tax dollars to the Azeri regime of former KGB general Haydar Aliyev–despite his government’s worsening human right record and refusal to lift its blockades of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The July 8 hearing of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Economic Policy was chaired by Sen. Charles Hagel (R-Neb.).
Witnesses appearing at the hearing were Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs Marc Grossman–Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States Amb. Stephen Sestanovich–Carnegie Endowment Senior Associate Dr. Martha Brill Olcott–former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski–and Armenian Assembly Chairman Van Krikorian.
The exchange between Sarbanes and Administration officials became heated at times and several passages of undemocratic norms and human rights abuses were entered into record on behalf of Senator Sarbanes–as he pressed for a clarification on the State Department’s position.
The transcription of the exchange will appear in Saturday’s issue of Asbarez..
These missiles were transferred despite strong bipartisan Congressional opposition–including two US House resolutions–a formal protest from the Cypriot government–and appeals by Armenian–Greek–Kurdish and human rights organizations.
The controversy over the ATACMS erupted in 1995 when Congress learned that the State Department had approved of the sale–despite Turkey’s record of aggression against neighboring states and its use of advanced US-supplied weapons in operations against its own citizens.