Açiq mənbələrdən foto.

Açiq mənbələrdən foto.

The U.S. Congress on Monday passed an amendment by Congressman Frank Pallone urging the Department of Defence for greater oversight over a U.S. military aid program under which Azerbaijan has received over $100 million in defense assistance.

The move comes after pro-Armenian legislators filed a litany of amendments against Azerbaijan, to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA – H.R.6395), a key bill that continues funding for the Defense Department, Turan's Washington correspondent reports.

Two of four amendments, including the one led by Representative Brad Sherman, seeking restrictions on U.S. defense transfers to Azerbaijan, as well as another by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), restoring parity in U.S. military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan, were not considered during Monday discussion, based on a decision by the U.S. House Rules Committee.

This came after pro-democracy Azeri activists in Washington D.C, reached out to a number of Congressional staffers as well as Congress members asking them to be "impartial, fair and objective as possible" in their statements over the latest clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Separately, the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCPF) of Azerbaijan also appealed to members of the U.S. Congress last week with request "not to adopt the amendment to ban for the US government to provide military assistance to Azerbaijan."

In a statement, Congressman Pallone said on Monday that his amendment "would enhance protections for human rights around the world."  "This amendment is an important first step in creating oversight for the Defense Department's Section 333 Building Partner Capacity Program that has sent enormous sums of money to regimes and dictators, including Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, which have documented human rights violations."

More than ten Azeri soldiers and a civilian, as well as several Armenian servicemen, have been reportedly killed since Sunday in border clashes around the Tavush region in northeast Armenia.

In Baku though, a riot police arrested dozens of opposition members - mainly related to NCPF - during the past couple of days in connection to last week's "Karabakh rally" in Baku to show solidarity with the army following border clashes with Armenia's military. Some demonstrators, unrelated with opposition parties, reportedly entered the parliament building as emotions intensified after the march, an action that did not appear to be intended as a protest against the authorities.

Back in Washington D.C,, pro-Armenian Congress members on Tuesday continued introducing new amendments on the Capitol hill to another key U.S. law "State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act" seeking finding for Karabakh Armenians as well increasing aid for Armenia. Both amendments will be discussed on Friday.

Note that the draft law NDAA - H.R.6395 provides that the Secretary of State, together with the Minister of Defense, submits a report to Congress on the situation of internally displaced persons in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan. The report must contain the following assessment:

(1) The number of citizens of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan who, since 1991, have been forcibly evicted by foreign forces from the illegally occupied territories of these countries.

(2) The number of citizens of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan killed since 1991 in the territories illegally occupied by foreign troops.

The Armenian lobby sounded the alarm precisely because of these points, considering the bill as "an unprecedented anti-Armenian resolution." According to the Armenian side, if the document is adopted by the Senate, it will become a serious headache for Armenia.


Washington D.C.


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