June 9, 2021 - 12:40 AMT
Blinken: U.S. has to "continue to take a look at" military aid to Azerbaijan

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the United States will continue to take a look at the possibility of stopping U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) told Blinken that the Biden Administration’s waiver of Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan gave the “green light” to the Aliyev regime to “act with impunity,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The statement came during a June 8 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Blinken on President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 foreign aid priorities. Secretary Blinken was also confronted with similar concerns regarding continued U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, the ongoing illegal captivity of Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) by the Aliyev regime, and U.S. ties with Turkey’s autocratic Erdogan regime during hearings before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations this week.

During questioning, Chairman Menendez explained, “I was disappointed that the Administration green-lighted the [Section] 907 waiver renewal despite Azerbaijan's attack on Nagorno Karabakh. Now, after the 907 waiver, interfering with the actual territorial sovereignty of Armenia in the border issue, not releasing the actual prisoners of the conflict in violation of international law - I mean, I think that they [Azerbaijan] can act with impunity and I think when we waived it [Section 907], we gave them that green-light.”

Secretary Blinken stated: “We have to continue to take a look at this. I have been working actively on this particularly, getting the return of the prisoners, getting engaged in an actual process discussion negotiation over an actual resolution and working on those things, and it was my hope that we would get a little bit of traction. But I think we have to continue to look at this and re-look at this in the future,” continued Secretary Blinken.

U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when he meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the margins of a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14. Biden will also meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, where the two sill discuss the settlement of regional conflicts, among other things.