December 5, 2023 - 13:40 AMT
60 U.S. Congress members call for increased security aid for Armenia

Sixty U.S. Senators and Representatives, led by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), called on congressional leaders to send security assistance to Armenia and provide additional refugee relief aid for Artsakh genocide survivors as part of the national security supplemental funding bill, set to be reviewed as early as next week, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Specifically, the Padilla-Eshoo letter – broadly supported through ANCA-led nationwide grassroots action – calls for $10 million in U.S. foreign military financing (FMF) for Armenia and requests humanitarian assistance allocated in the supplemental aid bill to be made available to Armenia to meet the needs of the 120,000 Armenians from Artsakh forced from their homes following Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of the region’s entire Armenian population in September 2023.

“We thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Senator Padilla for partnering in this bicameral call on President Biden to invest in Armenia’s security and meaningfully support Artsakh’s refugees,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “With President Biden lining up on the wrong side of Armenian issues – arming Azerbaijan and abandoning Artsakh – Congress is stepping up, leading America’s response to the escalating threats that Turkey and Azerbaijan represent to Armenia’s very survival.”

“Azerbaijan’s brutal, unprovoked military assault on Nagorno-Karabakh on the heels of their months-long blockade of the Lachin Corridor has created a horrific humanitarian crisis, forcing more than 100,000 ethnic Armenian refugees to flee their homes,” said Senator Padilla. “The U.S. must step up to address this emergency. I strongly urge congressional leadership to include essential security and humanitarian assistance for Armenia in the foreign aid package.”

Rep. Eshoo noted, “I’m proud to partner with Senator Padilla in leading this timely bipartisan effort to secure aid for Armenia in the upcoming national security bill. Armenia urgently needs U.S. aid to defend its democracy against Azerbaijani aggression and to alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh. As Congress prepares legislation to support our vulnerable democratic allies around the world, Armenia must be included.”

In the letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), legislators cite Azerbaijan’s September 19 attack on Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and forced displacement of Artsakh 120,000 indigenous Armenians.

“We are particularly concerned that Azerbaijan will continue its aggression by invading the sovereign territory of Armenia. Ominously, Aliyev recently referred to southern Armenia as “western Azerbaijan” and called for the “liberation” of eight Armenian villages along the Azerbaijani border,” state the congressional lawmakers. They go on to stress, “At this inflection point for the Caucasus, U.S. leadership is needed to deter further Azerbaijani aggression and enable Armenians to defend their democracy.”