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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 SpeierHillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' House Democrats urge Biden to make his pick for acting FCC chair permanent Lawmakers clash over gun prohibition in Natural Resources Committee room MORE (D-Calif.), Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing 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 TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE, along with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinWest's 'wokeness' helped Russia to redefine a 'prisoner of conscience' For better or worse: Which way will US-Saudi relations go under Biden? How to rethink Russia sanctions 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.