Chairman Royce, Members of Congress condemn Azerbaijani shoot dDown of Karabakh helicopter

Members of Congress continue condemning Azerbaijan’s latest escalation of anti-Armenian aggression, in the form of its introduction of surface-to-air missiles in a fatal attack this week on an unarmed helicopter flying over Nagorno Karabakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“The downing of an Armenian helicopter today is an indefensible aggressive action that threatens to undermine the fragile ceasefire and plunge the region back into violence,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) announced, just hours after the November 12th Azerbaijani attack.  “Azerbaijan must immediately cease all such attacks and provocations and commit to concrete progress in the Minsk Group talks.”

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) noted that he was “outraged and saddened” and called for immediate U.S. action to hold Azerbaijan accountable for their action.  “I encourage President Obama to formally condemn this deadly attack,” said Rep. Pallone. “I am also calling for the cessation of any military assistance to Azerbaijan and the strengthening of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which restricts aid to Azerbaijan based on its aggression toward Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) noted that “The apparent shoot down of an unarmed helicopter over the territory of the NKR, demonstrates Azerbaijan’s callous disregard for human life and its willingness to engage in provocative acts of violence to distract from its domestic problems. This horrendous conduct threatens to destabilize the entire region.”

In a statement issued earlier today, Rep, Judy Chu explained “I am deeply troubled by the latest evidence of Azerbaijan’s continued aggression with their attack on an apparently unarmed helicopter. The people in Nagorno Karabakh deserve and desire peace, but Azerbaijan’s disregard for the 1994 cease fire threatens both sides with conflict.”

“Azerbaijan should be held accountable for engaging in violence and not in peaceful negotiations,” commented San Fernando Valley, CA Congressman Brad Sherman, tweeting in solidarity with the Armenian Youth Federation #ArtsakhStrong social media campaign raising awareness about Karabakh freedom and opposing Azerbaijan’s increasing aggression.

In less than two hours, the AYF Western US, Eastern US and Canada-led effort generated over 2,500 unique tweets viewed over 500,000 times on Twitter.  Facebook and Instagram participation was robust as well.  Participants were creative with their messaging, focusing on Artsakh history and the escalating campaign of Azerbaijani aggression.  An AYF infographic on the helicopter attack called on the “international community to pursue sanctions on Azerbaijan.”

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