Representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region and its ANCA-Northern California Chapter met this week with U.S. Congressmember and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) to discuss countermeasures that should be taken against Azerbaijan’s unprovoked, illegal invasion of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. Since the ongoing Azerbaijani offensive, which commenced around midnight on September 13, 2022, Azeri armed forces have been targeting military and civilian infrastructure using artillery, mortars, UCAVs (likely Baykar Bayraktar TB2 produced by Turkey) and large-caliber weapons.
During the meeting, ANCA-WR representatives advocated for high level U.S. engagement and concrete steps to support Armenia while also holding Azerbaijan accountable for its blatant aggression. The Congresswoman was briefed about the situation on-the-ground in Armenia and the humanitarian toll of Azerbaijan’s deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, including attacks against medical workers and first responders, foreign journalists, homes, and community centers. As of 8:00am PDT on September 14, more than 105 Armenian servicemen had been killed by Azerbaijan’s continued aggression, according to the Ministry of Defense of Armenia. Independent reports and preliminary review of video footage also reveals the capture and mistreatment of Armenian POWs by Azerbaijan, which prompted the spokesperson of the Armenian Representative’s Office for International Legal Issues to submit an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“This is total, unmitigated aggression on the part of Azerbaijan,” Representative Speier said. “It is incumbent on the United States to impose repercussions on Azerbaijan.” Rep. Speier offered updates about her efforts to the Administration to increase pressure on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. For the last year, Azerbaijani troops have been terrorizing civilians, blockading the Goris-Gapan highway, gradually building military outposts on civilian properties, and attacking human rights investigators who are documenting Azerbaijan’s ongoing violations of international law since the 2020 Artsakh War. According to Rep. Speier, pressure from the US State Department has resulted in a temporary ceasefire and assurance that Azeri troops would withdraw from sovereign Armenian territory.
Congresswoman Speier assured the ANCA-WR representatives that her efforts to advocate for the Armenian community would not stop here. Along with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA-28), Speier has introduced a resolution, H.R. 1351, which would condemn Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attacks on Armenia and Artsakh, call for an end to US military aid to Azerbaijan, offer support to Armenia’s security and sovereignty, and provide for US aid to Armenia’s victims of Azerbaijani attacks.
Speier asserted that she plans to advocate with the full breadth of her abilities to ensure that Azerbaijan’s campaign of aggression and advances within the Armenian homeland is put to an end.
“The ANCA-WR is grateful to Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her steadfast and unwavering commitment to protect the rights and interests of the Armenian people, both in the United States and in Armenia and Artsakh, to end Armenophobia and to stop aggression by Azerbaijan and Turkey by holding them accountable,” stated ANCA-WR Board Member Ayk Dikijian, Esq. “The ANCA-WR and Local Chapters have engaged in a community-wide effort to secure public condemnations from US policymakers of Azerbaijan’s aggression and to immediately stop all US aid to Azerbaijan. We urge our community members to contact their members of Congress and ask them to join their peers by issuing similar statements and signing on to H.R. 1351, the Schiff-Speier Resolution.”
Politico reported on Thursday that Speier will accompany House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a visit to Armenia over the weekend as a show of support to that country.
A full list of Congressional statements can be found at www.anca.org/907. ANCA-WR.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.