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State Department failed to comply with Section 907 reporting requirements, Sen. Menendez tells Blinken

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, emphasized the difference in aid between Armenia and Azerbaijan during a hearing with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken regarding the Fiscal Year 2023 State Department budget request, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

Referencing the Government Accounting Office’s (GAO) report publicly released last month, Chairman Menendez highlighted that the Department of State and Department of Defense failed to comply with reporting requirements for reviewing U.S. assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan in terms of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.

In response, Secretary Blinken stated he was “happy to go back and take a look at the specifics of the concerns [Chairman Menendez] has raised about the inadequacy of the reporting.”

“Section 907 is an annual decision and we have interagency review and that review is underway, but I take what you [Chairman Menendez] say seriously,” said Secretary Blinken, who then shifted to the ongoing conflicts in Artsakh, instigated by Azerbaijan.

“More broadly, I’ve been very actively and directly engaged with leadership in both Armenia and Azerbaijan trying to help advance prospects for a long-term political settlement in regard to Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Secretary Blinken.

“We have been trying to push back on any unilateral actions, particularly by Azerbaijan, that would only inflame the situation, and we have a number of programs in place that are part of the budget to try to help advance more peaceful prospects.”

Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan commended Chairman Menendez’s efforts with respect to principles outlined in Section 907, as well as the ongoing attacks taking place against the Armenian people. “We applaud Chairman Menendez for his leadership during today’s hearing on this critical issue,” said Khaloyan.

“As long as Azerbaijan continues its aggression against the Armenian people, Section 907 must be fully enforced, especially in light of Azerbaijan’s violations of all agreements concerning Artsakh and its Fall 2020 war,” she continued.

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