WASHINGTON, DC—The State Department’s reply to a detailed Armenian Caucus letter was unresponsive to six specific policy priorities raised by over 100 Congressional signatories – failing to address or even mention the plight of over 200 Armenian prisoners of war still being held, abused and killed by the government of Azerbaijan, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The May 6, 2021 State Department letter, signed by Naz Durakoglu, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, came in response to a February 19, 2021 Armenian Caucus letter outlining a broad range of bipartisan policy concerns. In the months since the Caucus sent this letter in February, it has forwarded two additional Congressional letters to the Biden Administration, the first calling for Armenian Genocide recognition and the second seeking a robust aid package of at least $100,000,000 for Artsakh and Armenia.
Armenian American community members and coalition partners can call for sanctions on Azerbaijan by visiting www.anca.org/907 and support robust US aid to Artsakh and Armenia by visiting www.anca.org/aid.
The six policy priorities left unaddressed by the administration’s letter are listed below.
1) Prisoners of War: The bipartisan Armenian Caucus letter stressed that Azerbaijan has refused to free Armenian prisoners of war and apprehended civilians.
The State Department entirely ignores Congressional concern for the release of Armenian prisoners of war, failing, in this letter, to even cite their existence, despite sustained Congressional pressure.
2) Azerbaijani and Turkish Aggression: The bipartisan Armenian Caucus letter identified Azerbaijani and Turkish forces as having initiated the September 27, 2020 attack that killed an estimated 5,000 people and forced more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians to flee from Artsakh.
The State Department fails to identify Baku and Ankara as aggressors, choosing instead to speak generically of “last year’s fighting.”
3) US Humanitarian Aid: The bipartisan Armenian Caucus letter called for “significant US commitments” of urgently needed humanitarian aid for the people of Artsakh, to help them reconstruct their communities and rebuild their lives. (A subsequent Armenian Caucus letter called for at least $100 million in US aid.)
The State Department dismisses Congressional calls for a significant US commitment, citing just $5 million in humanitarian aid it has sent to support affected populations of both Armenians and Azerbaijanis.
4) Section 907: The bipartisan Armenian Caucus letter supported ending the waiver of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, sanctioning Turkish and Azerbaijani leaders, and ceasing military aid to Azerbaijan through the Section 333 Building Partner Capacity program.
The State Department neglects to mention that the White House officially waived Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and fails to respond to Congressional concerns about withholding U.S. aid to Baku.
5) Turkish Drones and Prohibited Munitions: The bipartisan Armenian Caucus letter cited Azerbaijan’s use of Turkish Bayraktar drones utilizing American components and technology, and also Baku’s illegal use of cluster and white phosphorus munitions.
The State Department disregards Congressional concern over Azerbaijan’s illegal use of cluster and white phosphorus munitions, and fails to address Baku’s deployment of Turkish Bayraktar drones utilizing American components and technology.
6) Foreign Mercenaries: The bipartisan Armenian Caucus letter cited Azerbaijan’s deployment of Turkish-backed foreign mercenaries, many with ties to internationally recognized terrorist groups.
The State Department refuses to address Congressional concerns about the foreign mercenaries recruited by Turkey to fight alongside Azerbaijani forces.
This only proves the point that the recognition of the Armenian genocide by president Biden had nothing to do with the efforts of the Armenian organizations (who lately having been patting on their own shoulders as having succeeded in this recognition process). The existential threat coming all three sides (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia) is what important right now, and it is now that we need the US administration committing to the safety of Armenia. Alas, from the above report we see that the US is a silent partner of a process that may end up destroying Armenia. Russia then will all but disappear from the Caucasus…a welcomed eventuality for the US.
15 Years ago, Biden was considered to be a friend and ally of Armenian American Communities. It was only during his time as Vice President (2009-2017), in the Obama Administration, that Biden’s support for Armenian Americans wavered and reversed itself from his previous time as a Senator. I actually had a personal meeting with Biden, about 20 years ago, and he was eager to mingle with Armenian Americans, at that time; on that occasion, Biden was a guest speaker at the local St Gregory Armenian Church, in San Francisco, California. Biden, then a Senator, made a personal guest appearance for just 40 or 50 of us (my mom and I among them), and our attendance was free. Seeing that he was a Senator in Delaware, and took the time to travel across the country to California, for a guest appearance with no fund raising, it’s clear that he had a genuine interest in Armenian American communities. With that in mind, it’s no real surprise that he acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, as a genocide, during his 1st year as President (2021); but, this business about the State Department snubbing and dissing Congressional measures to sanction Azerbaijan, well that’s very ugly and disturbing; so, Biden and Harris should be put on notice, with letters, emails, and phone calls that show displeasure and alarm.
When in history has the (Zionist) US State department ever been pro Armenian? NEVER! The answer lies in OUR OWN UNITY!..Nothing else. Always has been. It starts by creating one unified diaspora organization. One that has a president, deputies, institutions, and has routine meetings etc..With a sole purpose of growth, advancement, resources and justice for all Armenians etc.. AGAIN, ONE WORLD ARMENIAN ORGANIZATION..It then requires importing this organization and its decisions and more importantly, its massive world strong resource into Armenia proper. This organization can and must directly influence and correct the current useless or past corrupt leadership that has historically been a disaster for all Armenians. Its the only option.