Rep. Adam Schiff

Schiff Asks Biden to Force Azerbaijan to End Blockade

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WASHINGTON — This week Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Armenian Issues, spearheaded a letter signed by 29 Members of Congress, requesting President Biden to break Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh, cut off U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, and send U.S. humanitarian aid to Artsakh.

The letter condemns Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the lifeline connecting Artsakh to Armenia, and, by extension, to the outside world. The blockade was imposed by the Aliyev regime on December 12, 2022 and has affected 120,000 Armenians — including 30,000 children — who are without access to food, medical supplies, transport, and other essential goods, ultimately “depriving them of their right to free movement.”

The letter emphasizes that “Azerbaijan is once again weaponizing basic human necessities to further degrade already strained living conditions for the Armenians living in Artsakh,” and if the situation continues, “a humanitarian crisis with potentially tragic consequences is imminent.”

In addition, Azerbaijan’s actions are a “direct violation of the trilateral ceasefire agreement of November 9, 2020, which outlines an obligation to guarantee the secure movement of citizens, vehicles, and cargo in both directions through this route known as the Lachin Corridor.”

The people of Artsakh have not yet recovered from the Fall 2020 44-day war, launched by Azerbaijan with the full and open support of Turkey, and appeals for robust U.S. humanitarian assistance have fallen short.

“The federal government has failed to provide adequate aid, which makes decisive action by the Administration now all the more important,” the letter stated, underscoring Azerbaijan’s continued “belligerence, which has followed a well-documented pattern of abuse against the Armenian population of Artsakh, motivated by the bombastic rhetoric of the Aliyev regime.”

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The letter concluded: “We urge the United States to use all tools at its disposal to ensure the safety of the people of Artsakh, now and in the future, including cessation of financial support to Azerbaijan and imposition of sanctions. We cannot allow Azerbaijan’s policy of aggression and intimidation to continue.”

“We commend Congressman Schiff for spearheading this timely letter,” said Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. “Azerbaijan’s aggression against the Armenian people, which has precipitated a humanitarian crisis, cannot continue to go unchecked. We urge the Administration to take decisive action to safeguard the Armenian people, and hold Azerbaijan accountable for its continued and egregious human rights abuses.”

Signatories to the letter alongside Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) include Armenian Caucus leadership Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA), as well as Members of Congress Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), James R. Langevin (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Scott H. Peters (D-CA), John P. Sarbanes (D-MD), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Susan Wild (D-PA).

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