ANCA chairman urges Congressional leaders to publicly demand Biden hold Azerbaijan accountable for Artsakh genocide

Criticizes Biden Administration’s Abandonment of Armenian American Community; Urges Swift Passage of Measures to Suspend Military Assistance to Azerbaijan

In a scathing rebuke of U.S. policy on Artsakh, ANCA chairman Raffi Hamparian (pictured here) urges congressional leaders to press the Biden administration to hold Azerbaijan accountable.

WASHINGTON Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Raffi Hamparian called on congressional leaders to publicly pressure the Biden administration to take immediate action to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its genocide of Artsakh and forcefully advocate for the safe and secure right of return for Artsakh’s Armenians.

In a March 21 letter to the leadership of the House and Senate, in addition to the leadership of the House and Senate Committees on Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Appropriations, Hamparian issued a scathing rebuke of the Biden administration’s failure to prevent Azerbaijan’s genocide of Artsakh’s Armenians and its ongoing refusal to hold its dictatorial regime accountable for its aggression, noting the administration’s refusal to heed the calls of dozens of bipartisan lawmakers in a series of letters and resolutions urging an immediate response to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh last year – which saw the region’s 120,000 Armenians deprived of access to food, fuel, medicine and humanitarian goods for 10 months. Hamparian stated the Biden administration “not only failed to constrain Azerbaijan – but repeatedly enabled and emboldened Baku’s aggression.”

Specifically, the letter highlighted the Biden administration’s refusal to impose meaningful costs on Azerbaijan by:

– Reauthorizing military assistance to Azerbaijan despite a campaign promise to enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, even in the wake of Azerbaijan’s occupation of sovereign Armenian territory in 2021 and its blockade on Artsakh in 2023.

– Failing to declare Azerbaijan’s 10-month siege of Artsakh a humanitarian crisis – legitimizing Baku’s use of starvation as a tool of negotiation.

– Ruling out the use of sanctions to constrain Azerbaijan’s aggression in a public statement by Special Advisor for Caucasus Negotiations Lou Bono – undermining U.S. leverage over Baku.

– Refusing to impose consequences on Azerbaijan following its military assault on Artsakh, despite having indicated during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the U.S. would “not countenance any attempt at ethnic cleansing.”

– Committing only $15 million in humanitarian assistance to the 120,000 refugees forced from their homes by Azerbaijan – incommensurate with the dire needs of those displaced.

– Resuming high-level engagement with Azerbaijan in the absence of accountability – despite a commitment by Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia James O’Brien that there would be “no business as usual” with Azerbaijan following its assault on Nagorno-Karabakh.

– Legitimizing a fundamentally asymmetric and unjust “peace process” between Armenia and Azerbaijan without demanding the immediate withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces from Armenian territory or an internationally guaranteed right of return for Artsakh’s Armenians.

– Authorizing the sale of F-16s and other defense articles to the Republic of Turkey, despite Turkey’s track record of regional destabilization – from its occupation of Cyprus, attacks on Kurdish populations in Syria and Iraq and its support for Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Artsakh and occupation of sovereign Armenian territory.

Hamparian also drew attention to the electoral impact of President Biden’s abandonment of Artsakh’s Armenians, which will be front of mind for the million-strong Armenian American electoral constituency come November – with significant communities in key swing states, including Nevada, Michigan and Pennsylvania poised to play an influential role in the federal elections. Armenian Americans have already voiced their dissatisfaction with the Biden administration’s appeasement of Azerbaijan’s genocidal regime by voting “uncommitted” in key swing states – as reported in the New York Times, Washington Post, POLITICO and USA Today.

The letter reaffirmed the need to ensure the immediate passage of H.R.7288, to repeal the presidential waiver authority of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act and permanently enforce statutory prohibitions on military assistance to Azerbaijan, and S.Res.540, to force an investigation into Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses and reassert congressional oversight over military assistance to Azerbaijan.

“This administration’s failure to impose meaningful costs on Azerbaijan for its genocide of Artsakh only incentivizes further aggression,” Hamparian stated. “With the Aliyev regime publicly rejecting Washington’s mediation efforts and withdrawing from multilateral peace talks, it is clear Baku believes there is more to gain through war than through peace.”

In calling for congressional leaders to publicly urge the administration to take tangible action to hold Azerbaijan accountable, the letter also stressed the need to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of illegally detained Armenian prisoners of war and Nagorno-Karabakh’s political leaders and reaffirm the right of return for the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh – including safeguarding their individual and collective property rights and the full protection of religious and cultural heritage sites.

The texts of the ANCA letters are available here:

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.

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