*Renewed Azeri Aggression Would Trigger Trade Sanctions on Baku
WASHINGTON–California Democrat Brad Sherman and Pennsylvania Republican Jon Fox introduced the "Caucasus Peace and Stability Act of 1997," which would–"in the event of Azeri aggression or use of force against Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh," impose trade and investment sanctions on Azerbaijan–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
"Azerbaijan must understand that the United States will not tolerate aggression and we will certainly not condone business-as-usual if Azerbaijan launches an attack on Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia," said Rep. Sherman. "This legislation will serve as an important disincentive to any form of adventurism and will–I believe–deter renewed Azeri aggression."
In the event of renewed Azeri aggression against Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh–the legislation would impose restrictions on trade and investment in Azerbaijan–prohibit the sale of any defense related equipment to Azerbaijan–and instruct the US representatives to the World Bank and other international financial institutions to vote against any loans or gran’s to Azerbaijan.
"The Armenian-American community deeply appreciates the initiative by Representatives Sherman and Fox to prevent renewed Azeri aggression and to promote lasting peace in the region," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "This measure would go a long way toward generating increased confidence in the peace process by convincing Azerbaijan that war is not an alternative."
The legislation also outlines US policy on the Karabakh conflict as follows: 1) To promote a negotiated settlement of the conflict through active participation in the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; 2) To act as an impartial mediator–facilitating direct talks between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan–and remaining neutral on the status and security issues being negotiated by the parties to the conflict; 3) To not take any action which would jeopardize the ongoing peace process–and; 4) To foster confidence-building measures and to help create incentives for peace which will lead to a lasting and equitable long-term settlement.