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Shaheen Applauds Senate Passage of Armenian Protection Act

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chair on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, applauded unanimous Senate passage of bipartisan legislation – the Armenian Protection Act – which was led by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and would prevent the U.S. from providing security assistance to Azerbaijan for two years. This legislation was introduced in response to the Azerbaijani government’s attacks on ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh in September.

“The Azerbaijani government’s appalling assault on the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, a centuries-old indigenous population, has led to the displacement of over 100,000 civilians, which requires strong action today to prevent further catastrophe,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m proud the Senate has passed the Armenian Protection Act to show the world that we stand with the Armenian people and fully condemn Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The Armenian Protection Act would end U.S. assistance to the Azerbaijani government that is currently allowed under a waiver to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. 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.

In September, following Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, Senator Shaheen led a bipartisan joint statement calling on the Administration to urgently take steps to deter any Azerbaijani military action against Armenia.