US senators propose sanctions against Azerbaijan and demand US-led monitoring mission to Karabakh

US senators propose sanctions against Azerbaijan and demand US-led monitoring mission to Karabakh

The United States is continuing its attempts to get a foot into the South Caucasus using Armenia and the ethnic Armenians, while pressuring Azerbaijan.

On September 25, USAID Administrator Samantha Power has conveyed U.S. President Joe Biden’s letter to Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. “I assure you the United States will continue to stand beside Armenia as you work to strengthen your democracy at home and seek stability in your neighborhood”, the US President wrote in a letter published by the Armenian official news agency Armenpress.  

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken had also reiterated before his government’s “steadfast support for Armenia and its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.”

Power visited Armenia and met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, visited the Lachin Corridor and the Syunik province in the so-called Zangezur Corridor.

Also on September 25, a US Congressional delegation headed by Gary Peters visited Armenia. Peters and other senators introduced to the US Senate a bill titled “Supporting Armenians Against Azerbaijani Aggression Act of 2023”.

The bill demands sanctions on the leadership of the government of Azerbaijan, including explicitly President İlham Aliyev, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Defense Industry.

It proposes the authorization of a 10-million-Dollar military assistance to Armenia and a 650 million Dollar budget, from 2024 to 26, for the assistance to support the energy sector of Armenia.

Simultaneously, a bi-partisan group of ninety-six U.S. Senate and House members have called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to apply their discretionary authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to sanction Azerbaijani leaders.

Armenian Prime Minister Pashinian meanwhile also conducted calls with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who both have conveyed their support to Armenia.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced that her country will soon open a consulate in the Syunik province of Armenia, which is located in the country’s South at the border with Iran and inside the so-called Zangezur Corridor. Both Turkish and Azerbaijani Presidents had called for the opening of the corridor to their country’s bilateral trade.

Meanwhile, the visiting US Senator Garry Peters demanded an international monitoring mission to be established in Nagorno-Karabakh.

US Secretary of State, Blinken also voiced the demand in a phone call with Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev on September 26.

The USAID administrator Samantha Power and Acting Assistant Secretary Yuri Kim also visited Azerbaijan, reiterating the demand for observers in Karabakh. The US Department of State spokesperson claimed Azerbaijan had accepted such a mission and that they would “work with our allies and partners in the coming days to flesh out exactly what that mission will look like.”

The spokesperson said the US wanted to see Armenia and Azerbaijan return to the negotiations table.

Cover photo: USAID responsible Samantha Power, source: Twitter Samantha Power.

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May 2024