Representative Sherman introduces amendment on Azerbaijani threats to shoot down civilian planes

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Representative Brad Sherman’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would block the sale to Azerbaijan of American weapons that could increase the country’s ability to shoot down civilian planes.

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), a senior member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, today tabled an amendment that would block the transfer of U.S. defense items that strengthen the Azerbaijan’s offensive air strike capabilities, the Armenian National Committee of America reported. (ANCA). The initiative aims to limit Baku’s ability to act in the face of its continuing threat to shoot down civilian planes operating out of the Stepanakert Airport in Artsakh.

“This amendment will send a strong message to Azerbaijan that it cannot threaten to shoot down civilian planes. Azerbaijan should not be allowed to intimidate its neighbors. The last thing we should do is help strengthen Azerbaijan’s air defenses in any way, ”Representative Sherman said when tabling the amendment.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian confirmed: “This common sense amendment is needed to signal Azerbaijan that the United States unconditionally opposes any threat of destruction of civilian aircraft. No US taxpayer-funded defense item should ever be deployed by a nation that officially threatens to use its offensive air capabilities to kill innocent passengers.

In March 2011, Arif Mamadov, the director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Azerbaijan, reported that the Azerbaijani government had warned the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that it did not authorized flights to Nagorno-Karabakh, explaining that “The aviation law provides for the physical destruction of planes landing in this territory. The Azerbaijani government has neither withdrawn this threat nor agreed that its forces will not shoot down civilian planes. As a result, the civilian Stepanakert Airport has remained closed for the past eight years, depriving the citizens of Artsakh and others of their universally recognized right to travel.

The text of the Sherman Amendment states that “none of the funds authorized by this Act or made available to the Ministry of Defense for the fiscal year 2020 may be used to transfer defense items or services which improve the offensive air or air capabilities of Azerbaijan. defense systems, which could threaten civil aviation in the Caucasus region.

The United States House Rules Committee is due to meet during the week of July 8, after the Independence Day recess, to consider whether this amendment and the hundreds more proposed to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will be tried in order and cleared to come. to a favorable or unfavorable vote of the entire House of Representatives.

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The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. Coordinating with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters across the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a wide range of issues. To learn more, visit www.anca.org.

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