Menendez on Azerbaijan’s Assault in Nagorno-Karabakh, Letter with Reed to Blinken

September 20, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on September 19 issued a statement after Azerbaijan launched an assault on innocent civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh:

“I strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s brazen assault today on innocent civilians.

“President Aliyev has now made abundantly clear that he will stop at nothing to try to eradicate Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. For months, he has imposed a blockade on the Lachin Corridor, denying residents of Nagorno-Karabakh food, medicine, and other essential goods, while threatening the very existence of Armenia and Armenians with incendiary rhetoric. Over the past two weeks, I have sounded the alarm – addressing the full Senate, and convening a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to impress upon the U.S. government and the world the urgency of this crisis.

“For too long, we have pandered to Aliyev. For too long, we have not taken a strong enough stance to demand the rights, security, and freedoms of the Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. I will be introducing legislation in the coming days to hold Aliyev’s regime accountable for their aggression and to support Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

“We cannot stand by as Aliyev conducts his campaign of ethnic cleansing even as we, as a nation, have committed to ‘never again’ let dictators pursue campaigns of genocide. We must provide immediate support to Nagorno-Karabakh and work with international partners to bring pressure on Aliyev to stop his ruthless campaign.”

Also on September 19, Chairman Menendez and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, condemned Azerbaijan’s assault against Nagorno-Karabakh and urged the cut off of U.S. assistance to the Aliyev regime.

The two leading Senators sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressing their concerns about the situation and urging the Biden Administration to “immediately condemn the actions of the Government of Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh and announce that United States will not extend of its waiver of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.

In their letter, the Senators pointed out that, “Azerbaijan has denied the people of Nagorno Karabakh have freedom of movement and access to essential goods, food, and medicine. With the Aliyev regime’s resumption of military operations, it now appears that Azerbaijan is intent on removing ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh from the region by any means necessary.”

The Senators are calling on the State Department to fully implement and not waive requirements under Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act and halt future U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, writing: “Given renewed Azeri aggression and the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, we no longer believe an extension of the waiver of Section 907 can be justified, and we urge you to declare this publicly.

“We also urge you to strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s military actions and work to ensure humanitarian aid is able to enter the region. Thank you for your attention to this request and we look forward to your prompt reply,” the letter concluded.

The full text of the letter is available online: https://shorturl.at/myIU6.


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