The short title of the bill (S.3000) introduced by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) is the “Armenian Protection Act of 2023.”
The bill passed on November 15 will be introduced in the House of Representatives, then, if passed, presented to the United States president for signing to become a law.
Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act passed along with the adoption of the legislation in 1992 bans any kind of direct United States aid to the Azerbaijani government. In subsequent years, however, American lawmakers amended Section 907 to allow presidents to provide military assistance to Azerbaijan for counterterrorism operations.
The adoption of the Armenian Protection Act of 2023 came amid a congressional hearing on “the future of Nagorno-Karabakh” held the same day.
Speaking to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, James O’Brien, assistant secretary at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said that Washington “made clear that nothing will be normal with Azerbaijan after the events of September 19 until we see progress on the peace track.”
The official referred to Baku’s one-day military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of which virtually the entire local Armenian population – more than 100,000 people – fled to Armenia.
O’Brien said that Washington canceled a number of high-level visits to Azerbaijan in response to that action and that “we don’t anticipate submitting a waiver on Section 907 until such time that we see a real improvement.”
Azerbaijan reacted angrily to the remarks by the U.S. State Department official that its Foreign Ministry described as a blow to relations between the two countries.
It said that Baku would, therefore, not send a delegation to Washington for talks between the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia around a peace agreement that it said were planned for November 20.