Congressional Armenian Caucus urges to restore U.S. military aid parity to Armenia and Azerbaijan
YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 20, ARMENPRESS. For the second time in less than two months, Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders have called on the U.S. Departments of State and Defense to restore military aid parity to Armenia and Azerbaijan, or risk emboldening an already aggressive Azerbaijani government to escalate its attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) reported.
“We join with Reps. Pallone, Schiff, and Speier in challenging the Administration’s reckless military aid tilt toward Azerbaijan’s corrupt Aliyev regime,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “In light of Azerbaijan’s relentless aggression, we call on Congress to zero-out any and all security assistance to Baku, or – at the very least – match every dollar in military aid to Azerbaijan with another to Armenia.”
In September, 2019, Congressional Armenian Caucus founding Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) expressed concerns to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper about the proposed significant increase in security assistance to Azerbaijan for Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019, totaling $102 million, compared to $7 million in military assistance to Armenia over the same period.
Without question, the increase of security assistance to Azerbaijan creates an imbalance in the region and ignores a twenty-year precedent in U.S. foreign policy. We are concerned that rewarding Armenia’s autocratic neighbor with this windfall at such a time of historic change in Armenia sends negative signals about the importance we place on democratic values. Returning to parity in military assistance is the only way the U.S. will be able to retain its credibility as a regional power capable of bringing Azerbaijan and Armenia together”, stated Representatives Pallone, Speier, and Schiff in their September 27th letter.
In their November 18th letter, the Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders go on to request that Armenia be provided with “training and equipment to build partner capacity that will help secure its borders and create military parity in funding with Azerbaijan.