Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on Iran sanctions. A group of Senate Democrats told the White House on Tuesday that they won’t support passage of an Iran sanctions bill until at least the end of March. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Washington, D.C. – In response to questions posed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), U.S. Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken reiterated the Biden-Harris’s campaign pledge to “recognize the Armenian Genocide,” and also expressed the importance of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) peace process, among addressing other issues, reported the Armenian Assembly of America.

Responding to Senator Markey’s question on the Armenian Genocide, Secretary of State-designate Blinken reiterated Biden’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide: “As a presidential candidate, President Biden pledged in his Remembrance Day statement to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. Our Administration will be committed to prioritizing human rights and ensuring such a tragedy is not repeated. The Administration will determine the wording for the White House statement to mark Remembrance Day once in office and will consult with Congress on this important issue.”

In addition to the Armenian Genocide, Blinken stated that the Administration will “reinvigorate U.S. engagement to find a permanent settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that protects the security of Nagorno-Karabakh.” The Assembly fully supports this position. The safety and security of the people of Artsakh are critically important, as is the immediate release of prisoners of war still being held by Azerbaijan, despite an agreement to release all POWs.

Given the six-week war launched by Azerbaijan against the Armenian people, Blinken indicated that the Administration “will review” U.S. security assistance to Azerbaijan. The Assembly strongly supports and urges the Biden-Harris Administration to fully enforce Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which was enacted in 1992 in direct response to Azerbaijan’s hostile actions against Armenia and Artsakh.

Blinken also committed to work to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the Armenian people – due to the war – are met, and underscored his strong support for “U.S. funding for demining efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh,” which was phased out under the previous Administration. Additionally, Blinken indicated his support for the “provision to Armenia of security assistance and aid to strengthen democratic governance and promote economic growth, both of which will help to strengthen Armenia’s security and resilience.”

 

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