Tuesday, July 14 2020 21:31

Armenian Assembly of America: Congress should immediately cease all  funding to Azerbaijan 

Armenian Assembly of America: Congress should immediately cease all  funding to Azerbaijan 

ArmInfo. Turkey's support of Azerbaijan's unprovoked attacks against Armenia represent a dangerous escalation of tensions in the South Caucasus, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

Tellingly, Turkey immediately knew of the Azeri  offensive and publicly issued a statement of support. Such overt  support of Azerbaijan by Turkey, which it supplies militarily,  threatens to further destabilize the region. Destabilization of the  region fits within the Erdogan government's pattern of behavior. 

Azerbaijan's attack on July 12th against Armenia's northern Tavush  region along the international border and its July 13th shelling of  civilian areas in the village Chinari would not have taken place if  Azerbaijan had kept its word in the Organization for Security and  Cooperation in Europe's Vienna and St. Petersburg peace process  negotiations to allow for monitors and investigative mechanisms.  Armenia and Artsakh agreed to monitors and have repeatedly approved  confidence-building measures. Regrettably, Azerbaijan continues to  stonewall the process and has never accepted the proposals. 

Armenia's Human Rights Defender "strongly" condemned "the shelling of  [Chinari] civilian settlements which was carried out by targeting the  civilian population, their health, life and property," which was  especially troubling given that the Secretary-General of the United  Nations in March 2020 called for "an immediate global ceasefire in  all corners of the world due to the threat of coronavirus." The  current acts of aggression by Azerbaijan, which have also been  condemned by Members of Congress and Armenia's Prime Minister,  follows a longstanding pattern of hostility against the Armenian  people, including the April 2016 Four-Day War against Artsakh  initiated by Azerbaijan that started with the killing of a  12-year-old boy, and continued with the gruesome, ISIS-style  beheading of a soldier and the mutilation of an elderly Armenian  couple.  In addition, the Azerbaijani military inexplicably continues  to target kindergartens in Armenia's Tavush Province. 

The United States took a principled stand against Azerbaijani  aggression by adopting Section 907, which states that no U.S. funds  may be "provided to the Government of Azerbaijan until the President  determines, and so reports to the Congress, that the Government of  Azerbaijan is taking demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and  other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.  The Assembly, therefore, urges Congress and the Administration to  fully enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act. 

Azerbaijan has spent billions to whitewash its human rights record  through its Laundromat scheme and continues its attempts to resolve  the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by targeting Christian Armenians.  Baku's latest actions come as Azerbaijan's paid Laundromat lobbyist  in Washington, DC has made hundreds of contacts to Congressional  offices in furtherance of Azerbaijan's bidding. The United States  should not turn a blind eye to Azerbaijan's undue influence in  Washington as well as its reckless and relentless attacks upon  Armenia and Artsakh. Congress should immediately cease all funding to  Azerbaijan. Further, the United States also needs to convey to Turkey  that its statements in support of Azerbaijan, especially under  current circumstances, are unwelcome and are cause for great concern  as they serve to destabilize the region and contribute to further  escalation of tensions.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest  Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public  understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a  non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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