Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act
Position Paper June 2002
The U.S. Congress adopted section 907 of the Freedom Support Act in 1992 in response to Azerbaijan's blockade of Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia. Both bodies of Congress have repeatedly affirmed the need for Section 907, which states "United States Assistance under this or any other act (other than assistance under Title V of this act) may not be provided to the government of Azerbaijan until the President determines, and so reports to Congress, that the government of Azerbaijan is taking demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh."
Over the course of the last decade, Section 907 emerged as an integral component of the delicate balance of power in the South Caucasus region, effectively checking Azerbaijan's frequent and publicly stated intentions to renew military actions against both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
As a staunch opponent of international terrorism, the government of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic supports the U.S.-led war on terrorism and thus recognizes the current need for flexibility regarding Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. The need to provide military assistance to Azerbaijan was identified by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in a letter to Members of Congress noting that expanded Presidential waiver authority of Section 907 would enable "Azerbaijan to counter terrorist organizations and elements within its borders."
However, the Nagorno Karabakh government is concerned about the failure to include a specific prohibition in the Section 907 waiver on Azerbaijan's use of U.S. military aid against Nagorno Karabakh. While the waiver language does prohibit the use of this aid against Armenia proper, the absence of similar protection for Nagorno Karabakh suggests to Baku that the U.S. is retreating from its historic defense of Nagorno Karabakh against renewed Azerbaijani aggression.
The government of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic expects that U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, provided under this waiver, will be directed at eliminating Islamic armed radical forces operating in Azerbaijan and constituting a threat to the security and stability of the South Caucasus. The Azerbaijani government recruited and gave them its carte blanche. These forces were used extensively by Azerbaijan in the 1991-1994 war against Nagorno Karabakh.
The United States and the international community should hold Azerbaijan accountable for its blockades of Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia, in that they are actions equivalent to a declaration of war.
Section 907 should remain in place as long as Azerbaijan continues its ongoing and illegal blockade of Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia. The government of Nagorno Karabakh recognizes the need for the current waiver to Section 907 as it relates to the global war against terrorism. However, given Azerbaijan's continued blockade and bellicose statements, we urge Congress to ensure that any assistance provided to Azerbaijan as a result of the waiver is not abused or used against Nagorno Karabakh or Armenia.