Azerbaijan, Baku, July 2 /Trend, I.Huseynov/
Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) and Azerbaijan Society of America (ASA) express their outrage over the vote in the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations mark up session on June 30th 2010 to allocate $10 million in direct aid to "Nagorno-Karabakh" as a part of the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget, said in the press release of AAC.
"Such position assumed by the Congressional subcommittee not only contradicts the U.S. official position recognizing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, a UN-member state, but also undermines the U.S. reputation in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process as a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group", said in the document.
The move adopted under the influence of Armenian-American special interest groups in the U.S. Congress not only maintains but increases the amount of U.S. taxpayers' money allocated to an unrecognized illegal entity of "Nagorno-Karabakh" established by Armenia on the occupied territory of Azerbaijan.
"Most importantly, at the time of troubled economic recovery and unprecedented increase in the unemployment rate that America is experiencing, the U.S. legislators are essentially rewarding the puppet regime responsible for the acts of mass ethnic cleansing and are prolonging the suffering of over 800,000 Azeri IDPs unable to return to their homes", said in the press release.
The decision to allocate a direct aid to the so-called "Nagorno-Karabakh" also impairs the U.S. foreign interests in a broader region. The U.S. policymakers consider Azerbaijan's territory as an essential component of a successful war effort in Afghanistan. In past 9 years since the 9/11 attacks, Azerbaijan has fully supported the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, providing overflight permissions, geographical advantage as well as sending troops in support of the U.S. operations. The amount of Azerbaijani effort in support of the U.S. security strategy in Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia by far exceeds that of Armenia, yet the U.S. lawmakers driven only by Armenian-American special interests again decided to maintain the military aid parity to Azerbaijan and Armenia.
In a recent letter addressed to Azerbaijani leadership in June, President Obama outlined the existence of serious issues in the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations and pledged his commitment to resolve them. These issues range from the U.S. efforts to separate the Armenian-Azerbaijani Karabakh peace process from the now-failed Turkish-Armenian rapprochement to the U.S. views of the state of democracy in Azerbaijan. An expected visit to Azerbaijan by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is aimed at addressing these issues. Yet it is inconceivable how yesterday's vote in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations is at all helpful to Administration's overall strategy on Azerbaijan and the broader region.
"On behalf of all concerned Americans, we call upon the U.S. lawmakers to stop sacrificing the national interests under the influence of over-zealous ethnic lobbies. The U.S. visions of democracy, liberty and opportunities for all are too precious for developing Azerbaijan and the volatile region of Caucasus to be undermined by the paid special interest groups misusing U.S. taxpayers' money", - said in the press release