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The U.S. House Rules Committee cleared the path for full House consideration of an Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)-backed amendment led by Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA) calling for Azerbaijan’s immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war and requiring an investigation into the use of U.S. technology in drones used by Turkey and Azerbaijan to target civilians during their 2020 attacks against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), ANCA reported.

The Rules Committee also voted to allow full House votes on pro-Artsakh/Armenia amendments led by Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), David Valadao (R-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Jim McGovern (D-MA).  The amendments will be voted on during House consideration of the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.4350).

The Cardenas-Schiff-Sherman amendment states it is the sense of Congress that “Azerbaijan must immediately and unconditionally return all Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians.”  It goes on to demand a report from the Secretary of Defense on the use of U.S. technology in Turkish drones used by Azerbaijan to attack Armenia and Artsakh during the 2020 war.  The bi-partisan amendment was also cosponsored by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Andy Levin (D-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Katie Porter (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and David Valadao (R-CA). The full text of the amendment is available here “It is critical that we get a full accounting of the facts as we look to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its actions in Nagorno Karabakh last year,” said Rep. Cardenas.  “I am glad to have worked closely with Reps. Schiff and Sherman to produce an amendment that does exactly that. This report is critical to getting a clear picture of the extent of Azerbaijan’s actions and any potential violations of international law. Additionally, it will make clear that the United States Congress expects Azerbaijan to honor its obligation to carry out the unconditional return of any remaining Armenian prisoners of war safely to Armenia. I am thankful for the bipartisan group of cosponsors that has joined us in this effort, and will work hard to see that the report gets done.”

Rep. Schiff concurred, adding, “It is unconscionable that as we approach the one-year anniversary of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan continues to illegally detain Armenian service members and captured civilians – a reality made even more horrific by ongoing reports that these prisoners of war are subject to torture in violation of international human rights conventions.”  Rep. Schiff went on to note, “With this amendment, we are making it absolutely clear to the Aliyev regime that they have the obligation to release these prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and that the Biden administration should take every possible diplomatic action, including through the OSCE Minsk Group, to hold them to account.”

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