WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Appropriations Committee adopted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) appropriations bill, which ensures continued funding to Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) reports.
The "Committee recommends assistance for the victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in amounts consistent with prior fiscal years, and for ongoing needs related to the conflict." The Committee urges a peaceful resolution to the conflict, which, given Azerbaijan's recent and unprecedented attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, underscores the importance of implementing an accurate cease-fire monitoring systIn the Assembly's testimony earlier this year to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny urged robust funding for Artsakh to help meet the ongoing humanitarian and development needs for its people.
The Committee also adopted an amendment offered by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), which would prohibit arms sales to the Turkish Presidential Protection Directorate in light of the vicious attack by Turkey's security detail in Washington, D.C. against peaceful protesters on May 17, 2017. Last week, nineteen people, including 15 Turkish security officials, were indicted as a result of this attack in front of the Turkish Ambassador's residence during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit.
The bill also maintains Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, restating the six customary exemptions for humanitarian and other assistance to Azerbaijan. The Assembly continues to call for full enforcement of Section 907 given Azerbaijan's hostile and aggressive actions against Armenians.