In the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the world has witnessed the people of Armenia bravely defend their homeland against unprovoked aggression by Azerbaijan and Turkey. I stand in solidarity with Armenia and Artsakh, reaffirming our support for Armenia’s democratic government and Artsakh’s right to self-determination.
The agreement to end fighting which was announced this week is devastating and does nothing to settle the status of Nagorno Karabakh, or craft a durable peace. It was reached without the involvement of two of the three members of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States and France.
It was greatly disappointing that the United States and the State Department failed to play a role in avoiding this tragic outcome. We should have been bringing the parties together and negotiating a peaceful end, and using all the tools at our disposal to do so. It’s impossible to see this result as anything other than a terrible failure of U.S. and global leadership.
As a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, I have called on the Administration to use all available resources to hold Turkey and Azerbaijan accountable. If the Administration had acted in a determined fashion to achieve a ceasefire and used levers like withholding military aid, reinstating section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, and applying sanctions to Azeri and Turkish human rights violators, thousands of lives could have been saved and a return to peaceful negotiation would have been possible. It failed to do so.
We must redouble our efforts to support Armenia and Artsakh against Azerbaijan and Turkey’s outrageous hostility and hold all those who committed atrocities against civilians in recent weeks accountable.
We must also work urgently though the Minsk Group to achieve a truly lasting peace and to insist upon the right of displaced Armenian civilians to return to their homes safely, and provide humanitarian assistance to allow them to rebuild.