In a letter sent this week to Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) urged the U.S. to oppose any proposed bailout for Azerbaijan’s corrupt and authoritarian regime, especially with U.S. taxpayer dollars. According to recent media reports, the U.S.-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are contemplating a $4 billion bailout for Azerbaijan, while at the same time Standard and Poor’s downgraded Azerbaijan’s bond rating sending a warning to investors that they are considered speculative junk.
“Rather than reward one of the most corrupt dictatorships in the world, whose president, Ilham Aliyev, received the first ever Organized Crime and Corruption Person of the Year award, bestowed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Azerbaijan should be urged to make much needed reforms and use its oil resources for the betterment of its people and not at the expense of Christian Armenians,” the Assembly letter stated. Further, the letter highlighted that “Azerbaijan’s president continues his policy of trying to resolve the dispute over Nagorno Karabakh by threatening to wipe Armenia off of the map.”
The Assembly’s response comes as 2015 saw the highest number of Armenian casualties of Azerbaijani snipers and heavy artillery fire since the 1994 cease-fire agreement, including the targeting of Armenian schools and other civilian areas along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and Nagorno Karabakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact.
“The notion of bailing out a corrupt, foreign regime that continues to blockade and attack its Christian neighbor is out of step with America’s values,” stated Assembly Board Co-Chairmen Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “We urge the United States to use its considerable influence as a leading member of the IMF and World Bank to oppose any such bailout,” they continued.