ArmInfo.Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is collecting signatures on a U.S. House letter calling out newly appointed U.S point person on Armenian-Azerbaijan issues, Louis Bono, for ruling out U.S. sanctions against Azerbaijan for its 100-day blockade of 120,000 Christian Armenians in their indigenous Artsakh homeland, a targeted legislative initiative strongly supported by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
On March 8th of this year - deep into the second month of Azerbaijan's blockade, Bono, on his first official trip to the region as Special U.S. Advisor, stated publicly: "This is not a time for sanctions. Sanctions would be counter-productive. It's not even under consideration at this point." ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian replied within hours, noting that: "Louis Bono, by taking sanctions on Azerbaijan off the table in his very first public move, signals American weakness, confirming for Ilham Aliyev that the Biden Administration won't back its anti-blockade talk with concrete action." "When our diplomats deliver scripted assurances to Azerbaijan that the United States will not impose any costs or consequences for its blockade of Artsakh, they are - quite openly and intentionally - handing Ilham Aliyev a free pass, signed by Joe Biden, to continue attacking, occupying, and ethnically cleansing indigenous Armenian lands," added Hamparian.
The Schiff-led Congressional letter states, in part: "We are deeply concerned by your reported comments during the trip ruling out the use of economic and diplomatic sanctions against Azerbaijan for their clear aggression. It was reported that you stated, "this is not a time for sanctions . it's not even under consideration at this point." As 120,000 innocent people remain deprived of their basic rights in Nagorno- Karabakh (Artsakh) for a third month, due to a blockade that the International Court of Justice (World Court) has ordered Azerbaijan to lift, this is not the time to take any tools off the table." In closing, the signatories affirm that: "The United States, the President of the United States, the U.S. State Department, and entire Administration must use all tools at its disposal to ensure the safety of the people of Artsakh, now and in the future, including cessation of financial support to Azerbaijan and imposition of sanctions."
The full text of the Congressional letter is provided here: