Sherman Amendment Countering Azeri Threat to Civilian Aircraft Passed by the House
Washington, DC – The House passed Congressman Brad Sherman’s amendment that prohibits the transfer of U.S. weapons to Azerbaijan unless the President certifies no threat to civil aviation. The initiative aims to limit Baku’s ability to act upon its standing threat to shoot down civilian aircraft operating out of Artsakh’s Stepanakert Airport.
In March of 2011, Arif Mamadov, the Director of Azerbaijan’s Civil Aviation Administration, stated that the Azerbaijani government had warned the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that it had not authorized flights to Nagorno Karabakh. In 2012, Azerbaijan renewed its threats. The Azerbaijani State Civil Aviation Administration stated that the planned flights from Stepanakert would constitute an “invasion” of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized airspace and that “taking corresponding measures in connection with [any planned flight from Stepanakert] is inevitable.” The government of Azerbaijan has not officially withdrawn these threats. As a result, Stepanakert airport remains closed.
“This amendment sends a strong message to Azerbaijan that it cannot threaten to shoot down civilian aircraft. Azerbaijan must not be allowed to intimidate its neighbors,” said Sherman. “The last thing we should do is help strengthen Azerbaijan’s ability to shoot down airplanes.”
“The people’s house took a solid stand for peace today,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “The adoption of the Sherman Amendment sends a powerful message that the United States will not tolerate Azerbaijan’s threats against civilian aircraft or its use of violence to resolve outstanding status and security issues with the Artsakh Republic. We are deeply grateful to Congressman Sherman for his strong leadership, value the support of Rules Committee Chairman McGovern, and thank each and every legislator – from both sides of the aisle – who voted for this historic measure.”
Click here to see Sherman’s 2-minute floor speech on the Amendment: