June 24, 2022

SFRC Chairman Menendez Statement on Biden Administration’s Plans to Provide Assistance to Azerbaijan

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the below statement following the Biden administration’s decision to waive section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which bans most U.S. military assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan until it takes demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh:

“I am deeply disappointed to see the Department of State once again make an exception to bypass Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act to provide what has become annual assistance to the regime in Baku. Adding insult to injury, the administration chose to move forward with this most recent waiver despite the recent publication of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which confirmed the Department of State and Department of Defense have failed to meet statutory reporting requirements to Congress on the impact of U.S. assistance on the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“As Azerbaijan continues to further occupy territory from its violent assault on Nagorno-Karabakh, during which more than 6,500 people died and more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians were displaced in 2020, it simply makes no sense to say that U.S. assistance and training has not impacted its military balance with Armenia. I will continue to conduct rigorous oversight of any and all assistance to Azerbaijan and expect the Department of State to operate with complete transparency and provide all necessary details for Congress to assess any assistance provided to Baku.”

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Juan Pachon