September 21, 2022

Van Hollen, Markey Call to Cease U.S. Security Assistance to Azerbaijan as Cross-Border Clashes Continue

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) alongside Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in calling to prevent any U.S. security assistance from going to Azerbaijan until Armenia and Azerbaijan reach a permanent, lasting resolution to ensure peace and stability in Nagorno-Karabakh. In their letter, the Senators raise strong concerns that despite statutory limitations on U.S. security assistance to the country, Azerbaijan is benefitting from security assistance as it continues to attack Armenia and ethnic Armenians.

“In light of Azerbaijan’s recent and repeated acts of aggression toward Armenia, the United States should cease providing any security assistance to Azerbaijan until Armenia and Azerbaijan reach a permanent and lasting resolution that respects the will of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” the Senators wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. “This requires swift U.S. action to ensure we do not aid and abet Azerbaijan in sparking another large-scale conflagration. Azerbaijan must face the reality that there will never be a military solution that leads to peace and stability in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

In their letter, the Senators asked if the Departments of State and Defense intend to continue providing security assistance to Azerbaijan and whether they conducted a recent assessment to verify that the ongoing assistance will not undermine or hamper ongoing efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, or be used for offensive purposes against Armenia. The Senators also asked if either Department assessed whether any units that have received U.S. security assistance have engaged in the recent fighting. 

 A copy of the letter is available here.