WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the need to support Armenia and reevaluate military assistance and security cooperation with Azerbaijan.
“Following nearly a year of a horrific blockade, President Aliyev finally used military power to exert control over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, effectively erasing its Armenian population and rich history. As the world continues to grapple with Azerbaijan’s coordinated, intentional campaign of ethnic cleansing, we must both prioritize support for the Armenians who have been expelled as well as holding Azerbaijan accountable.
“As we look forward we must take steps to ensure that Azerbaijan does not advance militarily in pursuit for further territorial gains, including forcefully condemning inflammatory rhetoric. The United States should halt security assistance to Azerbaijan until it has stopped this brutal campaign. The United States and the international community must also reaffirm our commitment to documenting war crimes and atrocities, as well as continue to support efforts to repatriate prisoners of war, many of whom Azerbaijan continues to detain.
“Finally, we must stand in solidarity with the Armenian people, particularly as Azerbaijan and Turkey eye the potential Zangezur corridor. We should increase humanitarian support for those ethnic Armenians who have left Nagorno-Karabakh. The U.S. should also continue to support democratic reforms that Armenia’s leadership has taken in recent years, including efforts to promote transparency, good governance, and economic cooperation with the United States and Western Europe more broadly.”