WASHINGTON, DC – With combined Turkish and Azerbaijani attacks on the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia entering their fifth day, Senate and House leaders are rallying Congressional condemnation, through legislation and Congressional letters – working to bring about concrete policy changes that would cut U.S. military aid to the Aliyev regime and sanction President Erdogan for risking regional war amid a global pandemic, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“U.S. legislators – from across the aisle and in both houses of Congress – are sounding alarms regarding Azerbaijan and Turkey’s latest offensive against Artsakh and Armenia. We’ve seen swift calls for concrete U.S. action to end military assistance to Azerbaijan and sanctions on Turkey for aiding and abetting Azerbaijani aggression – threatening a full-scale regional war during a global pandemic,” said ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan. “Special thanks to Senator Menendez, Representatives Speier, Pallone, Schiff, Bilirakis, Nunes, and the Congressional Armenian Caucus for taking the lead in changing the failed U.S. policy of artificial even-handedness which has only emboldened Turkey and Azerbaijan’s warmongering. With broad-based nationwide grassroots advocacy, the ANCA looks forward to seeing unprecedented support for each of these Congressional initiatives.”
In the House, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA) is set to introduce a resolution which condemns Azerbaijan’s aggression, denounces Turkey’s role in the attacks, calls for an immediate cease-fire, and urges the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group to “secure an agreement from Azerbaijan to cease offensive military operations against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia and to accept independent third-party monitoring along the line of contact.”
The bi-partisan Speier Resolution, which already includes Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) as original cosponsors, is gathering broad-based support in the face of Azerbaijani aggression.
Also in the U.S. House, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone and Jackie Speier, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and Ranking Republican Devin Nunes (R-CA) are leading a Congressional letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for decisive U.S. government action to condemn Azerbaijan’s unprovoked aggression, threatening continued US aid to the Aliyev regime, demanding greater cease-fire monitoring along the line of contact, and calling out Turkey’s “detrimental” role in Azerbaijan’s recent attacks.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is leading a similar letter to Secretary of State Pompeo, calling for the immediate end to US security assistance to Azerbaijan and calling on the Trump administration to immediately engage with Turkey President Erdogan to disengage from the conflict. “If Turkey is unwilling to step back from active engagement in the conflict, then the State Department should immediately suspend all sales and transfers of military equipment to Ankara,” notes the Senate letter.
Well over 150,000 letters and 10,000 calls have already reached President Trump, former Vice President Biden, US Senators and House members through the ANCA’s dual action-portals – anca.org/alert and anca.org/call – in support of zeroing out military and security aid to Azerbaijan, sanctioning Turkey for their participation in the latest attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, urging the implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposal, which would help ensure a cease-fire through the more OSCE monitors along the line of contact and the placement of gunfire-locator systems to identify those breaking the ceasefire. Over 25 Senate and House Members have already condemned Turkey and Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian attacks.
US House members will have until Thursday, October 1st at noon to add their names as original cosponsors to the Speier Resolution and the Congressional Armenian Caucus letter to Secretary of State Pompeo. Senators will have until Thursday, October 1st at 3:00pm EDT to cosign Sen. Menendez’s letter to Secretary Pompeo. To take action, visit anca.org/alert and anca.org/call
Resolution Condemning Azerbaijan’s coordinated offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh and denouncing Turkish interference in the conflict.
Whereas, beginning on September 27, 2020 Azerbaijan has engaged in the most significant military operation along the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh since the signing of the cease-fire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1994;
Whereas, this attack follows increasingly aggressive rhetoric and destabilizing actions on the part of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s government towards Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, including a July 2020 Defense Ministry threat to bomb Armenia’s Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant;
Whereas, Azerbaijan’s ongoing military offensive, which includes the shelling of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh’s most densely populated city with a population of 55,200, has resulted in at least dozens of civilians killed and hundreds wounded and as of September 30, 2020 the threat to civilians continues;
Whereas, as of September 30, 2020 the conflict has resulted in the deaths of at least 84 Nagorno-Karabakh service members, and both Armenia and Azerbaijan have declared martial law, mobilized their armed forces, and called up reserve forces;
Whereas, The Guardian reports that Azerbaijan’s military actions in Nagorno Karabakh may be part of a planned military operation;
Whereas, the conflict follows on joint military exercises conducted by Turkey and Azerbaijan in August 2020;
Whereas, according to multiple reports, including by the Washington Post, Reuters, and The Guardian, in the weeks prior to Azerbaijan’s military operation, Turkey recruited mercenaries from Syria and as of September 29, 2020 has facilitated their deployment to Azerbaijan;
Whereas, the BBC, New York Times, and Washington Post have reported on the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s claim that Turkey is operating F-16 fighter jets in the region and the claim that on September 29, 2020 Turkey shot down an Armenian Su-25 fighter jet in Armenian airspace, killing the pilot;
Whereas, the conflict has the potential to escalate into proxy warfare among regional powers, including Turkey, and to further entrench the conflict and threaten peace and stability in the region;
Whereas, the United States serves as a co-chair of the Minsk Group along with France and Russia, and the Co-Chairs have urged a cease-fire and urged the parties to return to substantive negotiations as soon as possible;
Whereas, the European Union and the United Nations support a peaceful resolution and immediate cease-fire; Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
1) Condemns Azerbaijan’s continued aggressive military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh and breaches of the cease fire agreement;
2) Denounces Turkey’s reported participation in and escalation of the conflict under President Tayyip Erdogan;
3) Supports an immediate return to the cease-fire agreement along the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan and a peaceful solution which protects all parties’ human rights and joins with other countries supporting the same goals;
4) Reaffirms U.S. support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group efforts to secure an agreement from Azerbaijan to cease offensive military operations against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia and to accept independent third-party monitoring along the line of contact.