The Biden Administration’s incoming secretary of state Antony Blinken “will work with Congress, as well as USAID, international organizations such as the UN, and our allies and partners to meet humanitarian needs in the [Karabakh] region.” Blinken wrote this in response to questions from chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). The questions and answers were released by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Last November, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that U.S. was providing about $5 million in humanitarian aid to Karabakh in response to the war. Since the early 2000’s, Congress allocated funding for humanitarian programs in Karabakh, including rebuilding of housing, water supply and more recently de-mining.
Blinken also said that he “strongly support(s) U.S. funding for demining efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh,” a program that was phased out under the Trump Administration and now effectively replaced with the one implemented by the Russian peacekeeping forces introduced into Karabakh since last November.
Blinken also supported aid for Armenia, including “security assistance and aid to strengthen democratic governance and promote economic growth.”
At the same time, Blinken was non-committal with regard to suspension of U.S. aid to Azerbaijan in response to the war jointly launched by Azerbaijan and Turkey and resulting in more than 7,000 deaths. Calling it a “recent outbreak of hostilities,” the new secretary of state said that “if the circumstances warrant, the Biden-Harris administration will be prepared to suspend waivers of requirements under section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.”
Blinken also promised to “reinvigorate U.S. engagement to find a permanent settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that protects the security of Nagorno-Karabakh and helps to ensure another war does not break out.”
Along with France and Russia, the United States is a co-mediator of the OSCE Minsk Group, mandated to facilitate the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, but neither the U.S. nor France were directly involved in securing the November 10 cease-fire in Karabakh, mediated by Russia.