Senator Menendez Admonished State and Defense Departments for Covering Up Impact of US Military Aid to Azerbaijan

WASHINGTON—During a hearing on Examining U.S. Security Cooperation and Assistance. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) pressed the Departments of State and Defense on the Administration’s failure to meet statutory reporting requirements to Congress on the impact of U.S. assistance on the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as mandated by Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.

“It’s deeply concerning as Azerbaijan’s actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region have led to the deaths of more than 6,000 people extracted a steep toll on Armenians, uprooting them from others thousands from their homes,” stated Chairman Menendez during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing earlier today, which featured testimony by Department of Defense Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities Dr. Mara Karlin and State Department Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis.

Referencing a Government Accountability Office report, released last week, which revealed that the State Department consistently failed to inform Congress of the impact of over $164 million in assistance to Baku on the military balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Sen. Menendez asked Secretary Lewis: “do you commit to review State’s compliance with the nine or seven waiver requirements for providing assistance to Azerbaijan?”

Secretary Lewis responded, “it’s a priority for me to look into that and ensure that we provide the information required.”

Sen. Menendez continued, “I don’t want to see this anymore. I shouldn’t have had to commission a report to get what we all know that there has been a failure to justify this assistance.”