Armenian Assembly Congratulates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris | Calls for Investigations of Turkish and Azerbaijani Influence on the U.S.

 

Washington D.C. – Today the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly), the largest, non-partisan Armenian-American advocacy organization in the United States, congratulated former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris on being elected the next President and Vice President of the United States.

Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian, Assembly Co-Chairs, released the following statement on behalf of the Armenian Assembly of America:

“We congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their election victory and extend our best wishes to President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.”

“The Armenian Assembly recognizes that this election was hard-fought and filled with deeply held convictions on both sides of the aisle. We join those calling for the United States to come together after the election in a positive spirit for the good of all Americans and the world. While the eyes of the world have been glued to this election, Armenian-Americans and our friends have been consumed by the attempted Genocide being waged by the Aliyev and Erdogan regimes with jihadist support against Armenia and Artsakh. We pray for peace.”

“We hope this change in Administration will produce investigations of the surreptitious influence Turkey and Azerbaijan have exercised over the United States in recent years.” 

“As we stated in 2016 during the last presidential election, given ‘Turkey’s ties to ISIS’ and its increasingly authoritarian regime as well as ‘Azerbaijan’s links with ISIS,’ both countries posed a ‘threat to stability in the region.’ At the time, we also stated that ‘in view of the insecurity in the region, it is vitally important that Christians and minority communities at risk be protected’ and we urged ‘the new Administration and new Congress to take steps to safeguard these vulnerable communities.’”

“We need only look at the unprecedented war launched on September 27th by Azerbaijan, with Turkey’s backing, and the use of imported ISIS and related terrorists to know that the issues the Armenian Assembly raised then are all the more pressing and critical today.”   

“We are encouraged not only by the records of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but also by the statements which they issued during their careers and reiterated in the campaign to effect Administration reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, enforce Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, not turn a blind eye to Turkey and Azerbaijan’s destructive behavior, and build on the enduring partnership between the American and Armenian peoples.”

“During the Trump Administration in 2019, both chambers of Congress passed Armenian Genocide resolutions which were historic. The Administration also enabled the Erdogan regime in Turkey to harm U.S. security interests and human rights around the world, while giving the equally corrupt Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan more than $100 million since 2018 in military assistance used against Christian Armenians, failing to enforce Section 907 banning aid to Azerbaijan, and allowing Aliyev and Erdogan to import jihadist mercenaries and help America’s enemies without consequences.”

“The United States must take decisive steps now before more innocent lives are lost. We urge the United States to exert full economic and diplomatic pressure on Azerbaijan and Turkey. We fully agree with President-elect Biden regarding Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Section 907 must be fully enforced to stop military and security assistance from being handed to a corrupt dynastic dictator like Aliyev, who continues to use American taxpayer dollars to commit human rights atrocities. There is no excuse for the shelling of schools, churches, and hospitals, or for the use of white phosphorus in sensitive environmental ecosystems. Turkey also must be sanctioned for its active role in supporting the Azerbaijani military, including the recruitment, transport and deployment of jihadist mercenaries. U.S. policy towards Turkey requires a thorough re-evaluation.”

Background

In response to Azerbaijan’s aggression against the Armenian people, Congress adopted Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which states: “United States assistance under this or any other Act (other than assistance under title V of this Act) may not be provided to the Government of 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.”

A national security waiver was agreed upon after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Since 2018, the United States has sent over $100 million in security assistance to Azerbaijan, despite that government’s abysmal record of human rights abuses. 

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, in a November 3rd article in The National Interest stated that “the current waiver of Section 907 violates the law upon which it is based and should be revoked immediately. That the State Department has turned a blind eye to Azerbaijani violations and maintains the waiver is an affront to all Congressmen, whether Democrat or Republican.” Rubin urged Biden to “shut down Azerbaijan’s sanctions waiver on day one.”

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.

For more information, contact: Mariam Khaloyan at mariam@aaainc.org

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NR# 2020-43

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