A powerfully worded Congressional letter to President Joe Biden, spearheaded by Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), called for decisive U.S. action in response to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh, a bipartisan reaffirmation of demands to stop U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan and restart humanitarian assistance to the Armenians of Artsakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“Armenian Americans from Congressman Schiff’s district join our community and coalition partners across all the House districts represented by the signatories of this letter in sharing our appreciation for their principled stand against Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The Biden Administration needs to show leadership – immediately halting all U.S. arms and aid to Azerbaijan and launching a robust emergency humanitarian aid package for Artsakh.”
The letter, sent to the White House earlier today, noted that Azerbaijan’s blockade “is only the most recent example of Azerbaijan’s 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.” The signatories closed by urging “the Administration 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.”
Joining Rep. Schiff in cosigning the letter to President Biden are fellow Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA), as well as Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), David 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 Langevin (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Susan Wild (D-PA).
The full text of the letter is provided below.
Dear President Biden,
Since December 12th, Azerbaijan has imposed a blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to Armenia. The effect has been devastating to the population, rendering 120,000 individuals without access to the route that provides much of Artsakh’s food, medical supplies and transport, and other essential goods, and depriving them of their right to free movement. Additional reports1 allege that Azerbaijan has also shut off one of the major sources of natural gas for civilians in the territory, potentially leaving tens of thousands without heating as temperatures plummet.
Azerbaijan is once again weaponizing basic human necessities to further degrade already strained living conditions for the Armenians living in Artsakh. If this situation continues, a humanitarian crisis with potentially tragic consequences is imminent. Further, Azerbaijan’s actions are a direct violation of the trilateral ceasefire statement of November 9, 20202, 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 were already in a precarious situation before December 12th, as they have not yet recovered from the humanitarian fallout of the September 2020 unprovoked military assault by Azerbaijan on Artsakh, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and soldiers, the ongoing detention of prisoners of war, and the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians. Since then, despite Congressional calls for much-needed direct U.S. humanitarian assistance for the people of Artsakh, the Administration has, to date, failed to provide adequate aid, which makes decisive action by the Administration now all the more urgent.
This is only the most recent example of Azerbaijan’s 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. We urge the Administration 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.