LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Leaders and supporters of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) conferred last week with US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) — chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — to encourage the federal government to back the right to self-determination for the indigenous Armenians in the Republic of Artsakh. The Biden administration is currently facilitating talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan that would “integrate” democratic Artsakh into the Republic of Azerbaijan, a genocidal state led by petro-dictator Ilham Aliyev. The ANCA is on record strongly objecting to the Biden administration’s reckless foreign policy on Armenian issues and has been urging Congressional leaders to reverse a policy that would lead to a second Armenian Genocide against the families of Artsakh.
“Chairman Menendez is a champion for Artsakh’s freedom,” said ANCA chairman Raffi Hamparian. “During these consequential days for the heroic people of Artsakh — having Chairman Menendez lead the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is more important than ever. We join with Armenian Americans from across the nation in expressing appreciation for our constructive dialogue with Chairman Menendez, including a strategic dialogue on the need for an urgent course correction in terms of US policy on Artsakh,” added Hamparian.
Several gatherings in support of Senator Menendez and his re-election campaign were held in the state of California and included the participation of individuals from across the United States. These individuals were Democrats, Republicans and Independents, who all support the Senator because of his principled position that the Armenians of Artsakh deserve the same rights that Americans enjoy to live in freedom under a government of their own choosing.
Late last year, Chairman Menendez held a hearing that led to a stinging indictment of US policy on Azerbaijan, charging that the State Department witnesses testifying at the hearing were “wholly unresponsive” to concerns about the ongoing waiver of Section 907 restrictions on US aid to Azerbaijan and the lack of meaningful US assistance to Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia following Azerbaijani attacks. Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried and former State Department Senior Advisor for Caucasus Negotiations Philip Reeker were witnesses at the November 16, 2022 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing titled “Assessing US Policy in the Caucasus.” Both Donfried and Reeker are no longer employed by the US Department of State. Chairman Menendez summarized their responses at his hearing this way: “This has been one of the most disappointing hearings I’ve ever held, but it has crystalized some things for me. One is, it seems to me the United States is in bed with Azerbaijan.”