In recent weeks, members of the U.S. Congress have proposed several legislative amendments addressing the Karabakh conflict, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) reports.
On June 26, citing past threats by Azerbaijani officials to shoot down civilian aircraft flying into Karabakh, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) proposed an amendment offering that “none of the funds authorized to be appropriated by [the National Defense Authorization] Act or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2020 may be used to transfer defense articles or services that improve Azerbaijan’s offensive air capabilities or air defense systems, which could threaten civil aviation in the Caucasus region.”
Azerbaijani officials threatened to shoot down civilian aircraft flying into Karabakh’s airport after it was rebuilt in 2011-12.
On July 1, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) proposed a separate amendment to the defense authorization bill that would have Congress call on the parties to strengthen the Karabakh cease-fire through “the non-deployment of snipers, heavy arms, and new weaponry along the line-of-contact; the deployment of gun-fire locator systems on the line-of-contact; and an increase in the number of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe observers along the line-of-contact.”
The amendment is based on a legislative proposal by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Elliot Engel (D-N.J.) first introduced four years ago amid escalating violence on the Line of Contact and at the time backed by the Obama Administration.
UPDATE, July 10: The House of Representatives voted to include both amendments as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
On June 18, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment proposed by Rep. T. J. Cox (D-Calif.) to the FY2020 foreign appropriations bill, which supports continued U.S. funding for de-mining work in Artsakh implemented by British charity Halo Trust. The Trump Administration budgeted $700,000 for de-mining in Armenia in FY2019, but its FY2020 request removed the allocation.