Washington, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) welcomes Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Senator Bob Menendez’s letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding an assessment of assistance to Azerbaijan.
In his June 3rd letter, Senator Menendez stated that the government of Azerbaijan is “clearly not taking” the steps required by Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act. Section 907 of the states in part that no U.S. assistance may be provided to 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.”
During the Assembly’s National Advocacy Conference last Fall, Assembly activists raised concerns about compliance with Section 907 and the disproportionate amount of assistance to Azerbaijan (over $100 million), as well as U.S. assistance being used by Azerbaijan to attack Armenians. The troubling disparity between U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan and Armenia undermines the nature and spirit of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.
Senator Menendez’s letter also noted that assistance to Azerbaijan has “skyrocketed” and that the “lack of Congressional notifications makes it difficult to understand the full scope and nature of assistance provided pursuant to the waiver” for Section 907. He also raised concerns that “Congress does not have a comprehensive understanding of the scope, nature, and impact of assistance” provided to Azerbaijan.
Senator Menendez specifically requested that the GAO, at a minimum, consider the nature and quantity of all U.S. foreign assistance provided to the Government of Azerbaijan, in accordance with the Section 907 waiver, broken down by year, funding account, and implementing agency.
“Given Azerbaijan’s continued attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, including the targeting of kindergartens in the Tavush region of Armenia, we fully support Senator Menendez’s efforts and believe that no U.S. funding should be provided to Azerbaijan while it continues to blatantly and repeatedly violate the cease-fire agreement,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.
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.