Following Bolton’s Call for Increased U.S. Arms Sales to Azerbaijan, Ambassador Vote Postponed

National Security Advisor to President Trump, John Bolton (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

WASHINGTON, DC–In a move welcomed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed a vote on President Trump’s nomination of Earle Litzenberger to serve as Ambassador to Azerbaijan – amid growing concerns across Capitol Hill over a recent call by National Security Advisor John Bolton for U.S. arms sales to the increasingly reckless and aggressive Aliyev regime. Mr. Litzenberger was the only one of 19 ambassadorial nominations to be postponed, very likely until next year, when the panel will hold its next business meeting.

“We welcome this opportunity for more careful Congressional oversight of our country’s increasingly challenging bilateral ties with Azerbaijan’s aggressive and abusive Aliyev regime, particularly in light of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s controversial suggestion that the U.S. start selling arms to Baku,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“We join with our Senate friends in seeking greater clarity on this point, and, more generally, regarding the Administration’s policy on Aliyev’s worsening pattern of aggression against Artsakh and Armenia, incitement of hatred against all Armenians, unapologetic blacklisting of U.S. legislators, obstruction of the Royce-Engel peace proposals, threats to shoot down civilian aircraft, the destruction of the Djulfa cemetery and other Christian heritage sites, and – of course – his severe crackdown against domestic dissidents and ethnic-religious minorities.”

Trump’s nomination for Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Earle D. Litzenberger

During the October 4th confirmation hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Bob Menendez (D-NJ) grilled Mr. Litzenberger about President Aliyev’s “bellicose rhetoric and sporadic outbursts of violence,” securing from the nominee a commitment that he would urge the Azerbaijani government to step back from any threatening behavior that disrupts the line of contact. Asked by Sen. Menendez whether U.S. security assistance to Azerbaijan should be curtailed based on human rights abuses, Litzenberger responded that the State Department will be “very careful to ensure that nothing that we do or provide [in terms of U.S. security assistance] to Azerbaijan undermines the effort to reach a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.” He went on to note that U.S. security assistance to Azerbaijan will continue to include training in human rights, a point of heightened concern since the Safarov scandal.

Following the hearing, both Sen. Menendez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) submitted written questions to Mr. Litzenberger, and may follow up with additional inquiries regarding statements made by National Security Advisor John Bolton during his late October trip to the Caucasus calling for arms sales to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

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ANCA

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues. To learn more, visit www.anca.org.

2 Comments

  1. The diaspora works hard for Armenia to have better security, while incompetent Armenian politicians could care less, because they have no clue what is going on outside of the borders of Armenia, and what impact that could have on Armenia’s future. All they are trained to do is, sit back and eat their borsht and wait for instructions from Moscow, just like in the old days. At the same time, had Russia actually been a real ally of Armenia instead of a make-believe one, the US would have zero impact at its attempt to bully Armenia by petting Azerbaijan on its lap. Armenia can’t talk back to the US because it’s ‘ally’ is untrustworthy as far as Armenia’s future is concerned. Compare this scenario. Imagine that say Hamas attacks Israel without any provocation, and Israel retaliates and causes many times the casualties on Hamas. Next the US goes on international news and proclaims “both sides must calm down and stop the aggression and sign this peace treaty”. Can you imagine the outrage that would follow? So what was the Armenian response to ‘ally’ Russia saying pretty much the same thing when Azerbaijan murdered 100 Armenians in 2016 Artsakh, when Artsakh could not afford to have such a devastating big loss? This shows you how Russia could care less about Armenia’s interests, while at the same time Armenian leaders are too incompetent to deal with such an ‘ally’.

    • Must be really difficult to complain…
      The people along with the revolutionary gov’t are working hard to build a new and strong Armenia, in case you’ve been in a coma for the past half year. Instead of complaining take decisive and supportive action for your country.
      Cheers,
      Eduard

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