Congressmen seek to prohibit U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan

 12:31, 1 September 2023

YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 1, ARMENPRESS. U.S. Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA) were joined by Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) in introducing a series of amendments to the Fiscal Year 2024 U.S. House Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4365) to block U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan, in the face of President Aliyev’s 260+ day genocidal blockade of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“The Biden-Harris Administration’s failure of leadership on Azerbaijan’s genocidal blockade of Artsakh underscores the urgent need for strong Congressional leadership and strict legislative oversight,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We welcome each of these amendments – those in defense of Artsakh and also banning cluster bombs – and are working alongside a broad array of Congressional allies and coalition partners to see them enacted into law.”

The ANCA is urging U.S. Representatives to cosponsor and support passage of four pro-Artsakh amendments, including:

– Amendment 258 (presented by Rep. Sherman) – Preventing the use of funds to provide military assistance to Azerbaijan.

– Amendment 263 (presented by Rep. Sherman) – Preventing the use of funds to provide military assistance to Azerbaijan for use against Armenia or Nagorno Karabakh (also known as Artsakh)

– Amendment 272 (Led by Representatives Pallone, Bilirakis, Valadao, Schiff & Malliotakis) – Prohibiting military aid and security assistance to the defense, security, and border forces of the Government of Azerbaijan.

– Amendment 285 (Led by Representatives Pallone, Schiff & Malliotakis) – Allocating $1 million to support Department of Defense activities and partnerships that will help peacefully resolve the illegal Azeri blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh and allow for the unimpeded movement of essential humanitarian assistance, including food and medication, and commercial activities through the Lachin Corridor.

The ANCA is also recommending support for two amendments that would prohibit the acquisition, use, transfer and sale of cluster munitions, citing the devastating consequences of Azerbaijan’s use of these weapons during the 2020 Artsakh war.  These amendments are:

– Amendment 59 (Led by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Sarah Jacobs (D-CA)– Prohibiting funding for the acquisition, use, transfer, or sale of cluster munitions.

– Amendment 131 (Led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Sarah Jacobs (D-CA) – Prohibiting funds made available by the bill from being used to transfer cluster munitions.

The amendments are currently under review by the House Rules Committee, which will determine their consideration by U.S. Representatives upon their return to session in mid-September.  Those ruled “in order” will be presented and voted upon during consideration of H.R. 4365