WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) in applauding U.S. Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA) for the House adoption of amendments supporting stronger cease-fire and security measures for Artsakh in H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020.
“The Armenian Assembly congratulates Reps. Chu and Sherman for their successful initiatives to ensure the security of the citizens of Artsakh, and to ensure accountability with respect to Azerbaijan’s ongoing cease-fire violations,” stated Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan.
Rep. Sherman’s amendment – supported by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Vice Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) – was approved today on the House Floor by a vote of 234 to 195.
“I thank my House colleagues for advancing and voting in favor of my amendment to the NDAA to require that the President must certify to Congress that any defense articles provided to Azerbaijan pose no threat to civilian aviation. However you feel about the political status of Artsakh, threats to shoot down civilian aircraft are unacceptable. I thank my colleagues again for ensuring that we do not abet the Azeris in this menacing behavior,” Rep. Sherman told the Armenian Assembly of America.
“After 23 years of studying these issues on the Foreign Affairs Committee, I’m not convinced that we should transfer any weapons under any circumstances to the government of Azerbaijan until it comes to the table and resolves the Artsakh dispute,” Rep. Sherman remarked on the House Floor.
“We are grateful to Congressman Sherman for raising this important issue in Congress. The people of Artsakh should enjoy all rights and liberties laid out in universal human rights documents. Freedom of unrestricted movement is among the inalienable human rights, and we hope that this amendment will bring further attention and action to this crucial matter,” stated Artsakh Permanent Representative to the United States, Robert Avetisyan.
Rep. Chu’s measure – also supported by Reps. Pallone and Schiff – was adopted last night by voice vote as part of an en bloc package of amendments.
“The campaign of terror against the people of Artsakh must end. That’s why I introduced my amendment to support the cease-fire strengthening proposals originally put forward by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel and his predecessor, Ed Royce. The Royce-Engel proposals include gunfire locators, new observers, and a ban on snipers, heavy arms, and new weaponry along the line-of-contact. Adopting them is necessary for ensuring those who violate the peace are caught and stopped, and that is what my amendment encourages. I am pleased it was adopted in the NDAA and hope to see these proposals implemented,” Rep. Chu said to the Armenian Assembly of America.
“We welcome the adoption of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of the US House of Representatives submitted by Congresswoman Judy Chu,” the Artsakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued in a statement. “We hope that this amendment introduced by the Congresswoman Judy Chu will create a new momentum for the implementation of the Royce-Engel proposals.”
Earlier this year, Assembly Co-Chair Van Krikorian testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs and called for increased security measures given Azerbaijan’s ongoing and deadly cease-fire violations.
“The governments of Armenia and Artsakh have consistently indicated their desire to peacefully resolve the conflict and have offered confidence-building measures to help reduce tensions and build trust. Azerbaijan, however, has chosen a different path – one of blockade, bellicose rhetoric, deadly cease-fire violations, and attempts to isolate Armenia,” Assembly Co-Chair Krikorian said in his testimony. “In view of the escalation of the deadly cease-fire violations by Azerbaijan, including Azerbaijan’s April 2016 military offensive, the Assembly supports efforts to prioritize the placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact. The Assembly also supports funding for confidence-building measures to help facilitate a peaceful resolution of the Artsakh conflict,” he added.
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.