WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) met with Karen Mirzoyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, in his Washington, DC office. During the meeting, Schiff and Minister Mirzoyan discussed recent developments in the South Caucasus, and the importance of continued U.S. involvement in the development of Nagorno Karabakh. As a Member of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Schiff has pushed for increased humanitarian and development assistance to Nagorno Karabakh, and Mirzoyan thanked the Congressman for his work on this vital issue.
“It was wonderful to meet Foreign Minister Mirzoyan, and hear his perspective on the economic and security issues in Artsakh,” said Rep. Schiff. “I updated the minister on the status of my efforts to get economic assistance boosted from $2 million to $5 million in the 2013 budget that will be finalized in the coming weeks. And we also discussed the appalling extradition and release of Ramil Safarov, and its effect on a peaceful resolution of conflict in the region.”
Yesterday, Rep. Schiff sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittees in the House and Senate – calling on them to cut all security assistance to Azerbaijan, including Azerbaijan’s International Military Education and Training Account (IMET) funding. This latest request comes after the egregious repatriation and release of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army captain who had confessed to the savage 2004 axe murder of Armenian army lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan during a NATO Partnership for Peace Program.
In the letter, Schiff wrote: “Azerbaijan has committed the most terrible subversion of justice – making a hero of a cold-blooded killer. Plainly the investment we have made in training Azeri forces has been worse than wasted. The United States must not tolerate any acts of aggression against Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh, and this hateful action by President Aliyev undermines all international efforts to bring about a peaceful solution in the region.
“Azerbaijan must pay a high price for its actions. Baku treasures the security assistance that it receives from Washington, not because it needs the money (it does not), but because it signifies a certain closeness in the bilateral relationship. By cutting off military aid to Azerbaijan, the United States would signal its disgust with the Safarov affair, while also reminding Aliyev that the United States will not tolerate any acts of aggression against Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh.”