WASHINGTON, D.C.—Responding to months of escalating pressure the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), congressional allies and a growing coalition of pro-Armenian partners, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced today that President Biden’s proposed $106 billion supplemental assistance package would include humanitarian assistance to Armenia, which is struggling to assist the 120,000 indigenous Armenians forcibly displaced from Artsakh as a result of Azerbaijan’s genocidal ethnic cleansing
In remarks today before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the Fiscal Year 2024 National Security Supplemental, Secretary of State Blinken announced that the proposed measure will “enable us to tackle grave humanitarian needs created by autocrats and terrorists, as well as by conflict and natural disasters in Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan, Armenia and other places around the world.” Later in response to a question by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Secretary Blinken noted that humanitarian assistance would be provided to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), among other places. The assistance package does not specify a monetary figure for assistance to Armenia.
In testimony submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee, ANCA Programs Director Alex Galitsky welcomed the inclusion of Armenia in the proposed funding request, explaining that the $11.5 million assistance package announced by USAID Administrator Samantha Power during her visit to Armenia last month “is wholly insufficient to meet the dire needs of a population displaced due to the international community’s abject failure to constrain Azerbaijan’s aggression.”
Galitsky stressed that the additional funds allocated through this supplemental aid package must be “commensurate with the acute needs of those forced from their homes by Azerbaijan.” It should also support the long-term goal of “ensuring the right to return for the 150,000 Armenians displaced since the 2020 Artsakh War, with their safety and security guaranteed through a permanent international monitoring mechanism,” stated Galitsky.
Citing Azerbaijan’s ongoing occupation of sovereign Armenian territory and threats by President Aliyev to forcibly establish the “Zangezur Corridor” – a contiguous land bridge connecting Azerbaijan to Turkey through Armenia – the ANCA testimony called for “no less than $10,000,000 in foreign military financing (FMF) assistance to Armenia to meet the country’s immediate security needs and deter impending aggression by Azerbaijan’s authoritarian regime.”
The ANCA’s request for humanitarian and security assistance builds on similar requests offered in bi-partisan legislation in the Senate (S.2900 / S.3000) and U.S. House (H.R.5683 and H.R.5686).
In concluding remarks, Galitsky noted, “allocating humanitarian and security assistance to Armenia in this supplemental funding request can help rectify the policy of appeasement that has come to characterize the U.S. relationship with Azerbaijan – one that has treated the Armenian people as the collateral damage of misguided geopolitical priorities and undermined the security and stability of one of the region’s only democracies. The failure to do so will not only risk condemning Armenia to the whims of Azerbaijan’s tyranny – but signal to autocrats that our commitment to defending human rights and democracy will not be upheld universally, but only when politically convenient.”
The ANCA’s full testimony is available here.