WASHINGTON — Today Senator Robert Menendez introduced a Bill “Supporting Armenians Against Azerbaijani Aggression Act of 2023,” to protect and provide humanitarian assistance to Armenians in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the brutal and unjust actions taken by the Government of Azerbaijan, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
The bill covers a spectrum of pertinent and swift actions that can be taken by the Administration in the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s illegal and unprovoked attacks on the Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh, from calling on Azerbaijan to open the Lachin Corridor to providing humanitarian assistance to imposing sanctions to ceasing waivers of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, as well as appropriating funding for future partnerships between the US and Armenia.
“It is the sense of Congress that Azerbaijan is conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh and the United States and the international community have a responsibility to provide immediate humanitarian support,” the Bill stated, emphasizing that Azerbaijan’s blockade on the Lachin Corridor “threatens the lives and well-being of all people inside Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Government of Azerbaijan must immediately open the humanitarian corridor to allow for the flow of goods…and restore unfettered humanitarian access to the region” while also calling on the Government of Azerbaijan to “immediately release all Armenian prisoners of war.”
The humanitarian assistance for Armenians in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh highlighted in the Bill would be appropriated to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for fiscal year 2024 in the amount of $30,000,000 to “provide humanitarian assistance to groups in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh impacted by the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, Azerbaijan’s September 2022 attack on Armenia, and Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor.”
The Bill also contains language to provide $10 million in Foreign Military Financing assistance to Armenia to “support Armenia’s independence, joint training and exercises with the US, and train Armenian forces for future international peacekeeping operations.”
Imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan regarding the Aliyev regime’s clear attempts at ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh is also specified, as well as the government’s “operations that instigated the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War; attacks on Armenia in September 2022; the blockade of the Lachin Corridor beginning in December 2022; attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2023.”