The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a powerful amendment introduced by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) to block the transfer of U.S. defense articles to Baku that could potentially be used by the Azerbaijani government to act upon its threat to shoot down civilian aircraft operating out of Artsakh's Stepanakert airport.
The ANCA-backed amendment, offered to Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, was cosponsored by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). The House adopted the measure with a bipartisan vote of 234 to 195.
"I thank my House colleagues for advancing and voting in favor of my amendment to the NDAA to require that the President must certify to Congress that any defense articles provided to Azerbaijan pose no threat to civilian aviation," Rep. Sherman told the ANCA upon passage of the measure. "However you feel about the political status of Artsakh, threats to shoot down civilian aircraft are unacceptable. I thank my colleagues again for ensuring that we do not abet the Azeris in this menacing behavior."
"The people's house took a solid stand for peace today," said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. "The adoption of the Sherman Amendment sends a powerful message that the United States will not tolerate Azerbaijan's threats against civilian aircraft or its use of violence to resolve outstanding status and security issues with the Artsakh Republic. We are deeply grateful to Congressman Sherman for his strong leadership, value the support of Rules Committee Chairman McGovern, and thank each and every legislator - from both sides of the aisle - who voted for this historic measure."