WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) introduced a bipartisan bill that would prevent the U.S. from providing security assistance to Azerbaijan until it has been determined that they are not taking offensive action against the Armenians. Peters introduced the legislation in response to the Azerbaijani government’s ongoing attacks on ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Earlier this week, Peters was in Armenia to visit the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and view the 10-month long blockade of the Lachin corridor that has caused a humanitarian crisis for Armenians in the region.
“The Azerbaijani government has made it clear – it can and will use its military resources to impose violent attacks against the people of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Senator Peters. “The United States cannot be complicit in Azerbaijani violence against the Armenian people. We must pass this legislation to block additional American aid to Azerbaijan until it puts an end to its aggression in the region.”
Peters’ Armenian Protection Act would end U.S. assistance to the Azerbaijani government that is currently allowed under a waiver to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Although the Freedom Support Act generally prohibits most bilateral assistance to Azerbaijan, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, waiver authority was added to Section 907 granting additional discretion to the President to provide aid to Azerbaijan. The waiver authority has been invoked annually by Presidents of both parties since 2002 and the Biden Administration is still reviewing its waiver authority for 2023.
This week, Peters also joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers calling for the U.S. Treasury Department and U.S. State Department to impose sanctions on certain Azerbaijani government officials associated with the military attacks against – and brutal blockade of – Nagorno-Karabakh. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Peters has previously raised concerns regarding the Azerbaijani military attacks on the Armenian people and has advocated for additional U.S. action to help restore peace in the region. Peters recently gave a speech on the Senate floor condemning the Azerbaijani government’s military aggression and violence toward Armenia and called on the U.S. to stand behind the Armenian people.