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Lawmakers introduce resolution condemning Azerbaijan, Turkey for conflict with Armenia

Lawmakers introduce resolution condemning Azerbaijan, Turkey for conflict with Armenia
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Congressional lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning Azerbaijan for an outbreak of violence against Armenia in the contested area of Nagorno-Karabakh, and calling out Turkey for interfering in the conflict.

The measure was introduced by bipartisan members of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, including Reps. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierPentagon puts on show of force as questions circle on COVID-19 outbreak Candymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety COVID-19 sparks national security concerns with top brass in quarantine MORE (D-Calif.), Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump tells GSA that Biden transition can begin Hillicon Valley: Leadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns | Snapchat launches in-app video platform 'Spotlight' | Uber, Lyft awarded federal transportation contract Democrats accuse GSA of undermining national security by not certifying Biden win MORE (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and 32 other members.

The resolution condemns Azerbaijan for instigating fighting that broke out on the border with the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, an area that falls within sovereign Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians.

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The former Soviet Union countries have gone through episodes of devastating violence on both sides, with massacres and forced displacement that underscore the hostilities taking place today.

The territory since 1994 has been under a fragile ceasefire and stalled peace process mediated by the United States, Russia and France — collectively known as the Minsk Group.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE, along with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinBiden rolls out national security team The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Putin not ready to recognize Biden win MORE and French President Emanuel Macron issued a statement Thursday calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for both Baku and Yerevan to commit to negotiations.

But fighting in the territory has escalated outside of the borders into Armenia and Azerbaijan in nearly a week of hostilities, where the use of heavy military weapons, including tanks, artillery and airstrikes, has resulted in dozens of deaths and hundreds wounded, including civilians.

Congressional lawmakers called out Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev for “increasingly aggressive rhetoric and destabilizing actions,” and cited reports in The Guardian that Baku’s assault on Nagorno-Karabakh may be “part of an organized military operation.”

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The lawmakers’ resolution echoes calls by the international community for both sides to observe a ceasefire and return to negotiations under the Minsk Group.

They also condemn Turkey’s interference in the fighting, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – who's pledged support for Azerbaijan – reportedly sending fighters to Baku and deploying F-16 fighter jets that shot down an Armenian drone, according to Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The language in the resolution is stronger than statements issued by Trump administration officials and Senate Republicans, who have refrained from calling out Turkey for its role in the conflict and have instead warned against “external parties” and “regional powers” exacerbating the conflict.

Democrats in both the House and Senate have issued statements calling for the White House to halt military sales to Azerbaijan and condemn Turkey for its interference.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also called on the White House to condemn Turkey’s involvement.

The resolution was welcomed by the Armenian Assembly of America for condemning Azerbaijan and denouncing Turkey’s role in the conflict.

“This resolution sends a powerful message to Turkey and Azerbaijan to cease its hostile actions immediately. We urge its immediate passage,” said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.