WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and five colleagues introduced the Armenian Protection Act to prevent the U.S. from providing security assistance to Azerbaijan, currently allowed under a waiver to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, until it has been determined that they are not taking offensive action against the Armenians. The senators introduced the legislation in response to the unilateral seizure, by force of arms, of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan.
“Through the 907 waiver authority, Americans saw their tax money used to provide weapons to Azerbaijan to attack lands where Armenians have lived for centuries. That is not only wrong, it’s perverse. This bill withdraws that authority,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“The Azerbaijani government has made it clear – it will use its military resources to eliminate the presence of Armenians in 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.”
Cassidy and Peters were joined by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and John Kennedy (R-LA) in introducing the legislation.
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.