The United States Senate unanimously voted to end military aid to Azerbaijan.
The Armenian Protection Act of 2023 was originally introduced on Sept. 29th this year by Democratic Michigan Sen. Gary Peters. The bill was cosponsored by fellow senators from both sides of the aisle including Marco Rubio of Florida, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and Pate Ricketts of Nebraska.
The bill seeks to block United States military aid to Azerbaijan by removing President Joe Biden’s authority to waive Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act for fiscal years 2024 and 2025.
“We thank Senator Peters for his leadership and welcome the Senate’s adoption of S.3000 as a first step toward holding Azerbaijan accountable for its genocide of Artsakh and deterring renewed aggression toward Armenia,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “For his part, President Biden – given his role in arming Azerbaijan’s ethnic-cleansing of Artsakh – needs to do far more at this point than simply signal a willingness to enforce an existing U.S. statute, for example, by leading a UN Security Council resolution to establish an international mandate providing security for the safe and sustainable return of Armenians to Artsakh.”
BREAKING: The U.S. Senate has passed Bill S. 3000 “Armenia Protection Act of 2023” and it is now awaiting House approval.
This bill revokes the US President's right to suspend Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which will in turn prohibit military aid to Azerbaijan for a… pic.twitter.com/hunM12IXh2
— 301🇦🇲 (@301arm) November 16, 2023
The bill follows Azerbaijan’s nearly year-long blockade of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Armenia.
“Not only did they blockade the Lachin Corridor for 10 months, creating significant hardships, they also violently attacked innocent Armenians and forced the dissolution of the government of Nagorno-Karabakh on September 20th,” Peters said of Azerbaijan. “If we do not take action when countries willfully ignore the terms of our agreements with them, our agreements will become effectively meaningless and toothless.”
“I urge my colleagues to join me in holding Azerbaijan accountable for their actions, enforce our agreements with them and stand with the Armenian people in the face of unprovoked aggression,” he added.
James O’Brien, assistant secretary at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said Washington has “made clear that nothing will be normal with Azerbaijan after the events of Sept. 19 until we see progress on the peace track.”
O’Brien’s comment referred to a one-day military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh which resulted in over 100,000 fleeing to Armenia.
Armenia has been under blockade by Azerbaijani forces since Dec. 12, 2022 — preventing Armenia from receiving vital supplies from the sole road connecting the country and Karabakh.