UNITED STATES— Over sixty U.S. lawmakers, in a letter, have called on State Secretary Mike Pompeo to take action in condemning Azerbaijan and Turkey over the clashes in Artsakh.
The Republic of Artsakh, or the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, is an autonomous state in the Caucasus. It has an overwhelming Armenian population and is governed by Armenians. However, it is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
There have been border clashes throughout the years. The latest, and ongoing fighting, started on September 27. Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of provocation, with Turkey supporting Azerbaijan.
The letter was spearheaded by three of the co-chairs of the Armenian Caucus: Representative Adam Schiff, Representative Frank Pallone and Representative Jackie Speier. Among the lawmakers were also Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Robert Menendez and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
The letter called on the United States to suspend security assistance to Azerbaijan and the Trump administration to immediately engage with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for Turkey’s disengagement.
It stated: “Given the possibility that this conflict could engulf the region and draw in other external actors, it is imperative that the U.S. use its diplomatic leverage to bring about an immediate cease fire.”
“President Trump must convince Turkey to immediately disengage from the conflict. President Trump has repeatedly touted his close personal relationship with President Erdogan. While we believe that his faith in President Erdogan is misguided, this conflict provides an opportunity to secure an outcome with Turkey that is actually in the interests of the United States. If Turkey is unwilling to step back from active engagement in the conflict, then the State Department should immediately suspend all sales and transfers of military equipment to Ankara.
“The United States has always played an essential leadership role in easing tensions in many conflicts around the world and preventing escalation into full-scale war. Despite the many events competing for our attention, including our presidential election, this situation requires U.S. leadership. We urge you to fully engage and use the power of your office to bring about a peaceful resolution to this terrible violence and get the parties back to the table as soon as possible,” concluded the lawmakers.