ANCA congressional testimony calls for $200 million aid for Artsakh refugees; sanctions for Azerbaijani war crimes

“As long as Azerbaijan believes there is more to gain through coercion than through negotiations, Armenia will face a threat to its very existence.” – ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan

WASHINGTON—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called on key Senate committees to pressure the Biden administration to cut all military aid and sanction Azerbaijan’s genocidal leaders while allocating $200 million in U.S. assistance to survivors of the Artsakh genocide.

In testimony submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan explained that in the wake of Azerbaijan’s 2023 genocidal assault and ethnic cleansing of Artsakh’s 150,000 indigenous Armenian population, Congress must take decisive action. “We ask the Committee to press the Biden Administration to abandon its reckless policy of false parity and, instead, forthrightly condemn Azerbaijan’s aggression by taking actions that demonstrate a willingness to hold Baku accountable for its criminal behavior,” stated Yerimyan.

The ANCA testimony was timed with committee hearings this week featuring Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is defending President Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget request.  Yerimyan urged Congress to “continue full enforcement” of Section 907 restrictions on U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan.  She went on to call for committee support for requesting a report on Azerbaijan’s human rights practices pursuant to Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act through passage of S.Res.540. “The findings of this report will strengthen the case to cut all military assistance to Azerbaijan and hold other allies, like Turkey, accountable for selling or transferring U.S. arms to Azerbaijan for use against innocent Armenian civilians,” argued Yerimyan.

The ANCA called on committees to “conduct oversight of the Administration’s low levels of humanitarian assistance to Artsakh’s 150,000 refugees” and urged their FY2025 foreign aid legislation to include $200 million U.S. aid to Artsakh refugees, reiterating their right to return to their homes under international guarantees. “Our current failed U.S. policy in the Caucasus features lectures on democracy to democratic Armenia, ships U.S. tax-payer funded military aid to dictatorial Azerbaijan, and provides almost no assistance at all to at-risk Artsakh refugees. That must change,” stated Yerimyan.

The ANCA also urged the congressional committees to follow up on Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights submissions to the Departments of State and Treasury, detailing evidence and demanding Global Magnitsky sanctions on 40+ senior Azerbaijani officials for war crimes and rights abuses during their blockade and aggression against Artsakh.

Yerimyan condemned the Biden administration’s decision to send U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mark Libby to the ethnically cleansed Artsakh city of Shushi, despite an expressed U.S. policy of suspending high-level meetings while Azerbaijan illegally imprisons Artsakh leaders and Armenian POWs, continues to occupy sovereign Armenian territory and uses coercion to unilateral Armenian land concessions. “As long as Azerbaijan believes there is more to gain through coercion than through negotiations, Armenia will face a threat to its very existence,” argued Yerimyan.

Yerimyan’s testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is available here.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, the panel tasked with writing the FY2025 foreign aid bill, is set to “mark up” and approve the measure as early as June 4. Full committee and House consideration is likely soon thereafter. The Senate has yet to announce its calendar for consideration of the measure.

Over 60 U.S. representatives cosigned the Congressional Armenian Caucus letter, strongly backed by the ANCA, calling for $200 million in assistance for Artsakh refugees, the suspension of all U.S. military and security aid to Azerbaijan and the assessment of potential sanctions against Azerbaijani officials.

ANCA
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.

4 Comments

  1. Armenia will be defended by the strong right arms of Armenian men and not by a bunch of Diasporans pleading in front of a foreign hearing full of board and uninterested people.

    These American Armenians are nothing but a trouble making curse for Armenia.

    They love Armenia so much that they’ll do everything and anything for Armenia except actually live there.

    • Knock it off Robert! You’re using the talking point of Armenia’s Turkic enemies. For years Turks went online to post your expressed viewpoint, that “American Armenians are nothing but a trouble making curse”. Are you even Armenian at all? My maternal ancestry is Armenian, so don’t be deceived by my last name. In 1908, my Sanoian grandparents started a farm in Fresno, California. But, you insulted the legacy of my diaspora heritage.

  2. American Armenians, all of them, every single one of them, have failed their geography exams. That is why they are a miserable bunch of troublemakers.

    They ignore Geography and want Russia out.

    Just don’t complain when the Turks march in and do what they want with Armenian women and you know perfectly well what they do.

    You’re going to defend Armenia with your body and blood when the Turks move in?

    As for me, I am 100% English and my wife is 100% Armenian.

    You don’t have to be Armenian to love Armenia.

    • [Point 1] You falsely bundled together and equated all “American Armenians, every single one of them” as one monolithic group, which is indeed false. Some express their disapproval of Pashinyan and his so-called “tilt to the West”, so according to your viewpoint, they haven’t “failed their geography exams”.

      Aristotelian Logic debunks your generalization: [A] Some American Armenians approve of Armenia’s tilt away from Russia; [B] Some American Armenians disapprove of Armenia’s tilt away from Russia. [C} Therefore, Robert Whig falsely claims that all American Armenians oppose his viewpoint.

      [Point 2] I’m aware of the geographical problems faced by landlocked Armenia; but, that doesn’t absolve Russia from breaking its signed agreement obligations, which Russia failed to properly manage, the same goes for the CSTO. Since 2021, Russia and CSTO have failed to help Armenia eject Azeri encroachments into Armenia itself; and, they failed to honor their 2020 obligations for the welfare of (formerly) Pro-Russian Artsakh Armenians. As of now, European aid goes through Georgia, and Indian aid goes through Iran.

      [Point 3] You talk about Armenians rejecting Russia, but the article is about Diaspora Armenians taking action to block US support of Azerbaijan. The article is about moving the American Government to punish Azerbaijan. Maybe Russia can start doing that too, but they don’t even criticize Baku, Azerbaijan, or propose to sanction them.

      [Point 4} There is evidence from Lukashenko’s own words, that he plotted together with Aliyev, and encouraged him to attack the Armenian Artsakh Stronghold before it happened in 2020. Putin is highly suspect of doing the same thing, and giving the “green light” for Aliyev to attack his Armenian neighbors. What kind of a CSTO Ally backstabs their Armenian CSTO Ally? Take a guess, because I just spelled it out.

      [Point 6} I’m not here to defend Pashinyan, because he has blundered repeatedly, and worse. But, that doesn’t mean that I have to like what Russia has been doing, since 2020, and I don’t like it. I don’t like that CSTO leaders have been in a conspiratorial framework with Baku, Azerbaijan, against the interests of the Armenian People. I don’t like that Russia helped Azerbaijan ethnically cleanse the most Pro-Russia Armenians in the South Caucasus.

      [Point 7] Turks don’t like diaspora Armenians, because they can’t control them, or suppress them. Diaspora Armenians have done a lot behind the scenes to support Armenia, regardless of their viewpoints.

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