New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez on Tuesday called for U.S. engagement in the Southern Caucasus region following weeks of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia that has killed thousands. The Democrat, who is the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor and expressed his "solidarity with ethnic Armenians."
Menendez said the "dark days" suffered "did not have to be this way, American leadership could have averted much of this tragedy." But he said it "happened while Donald Trump slept yet another example of diplomatic malpractice at the highest levels of an administration will thankfully conclude in January."
Armenia And Azerbaijan agreed to a Russian-backed cease fire last week that halted fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The pact signed with Russia calls for the deployment of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers and territorial concessions by Armenia.
On Tuesday, Turkey’s parliament also granted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government permission to deploy peacekeepers to Azerbaijan to monitor the cease-fire deal, creating what Menendez called a concerning "return of great power politics in this critical region." "And yet the world's sole superpower is conspicuously absent. This needs to change," he said. Menendez said he has "every confidence" that President-elect Joe Biden will "live up to America's responsibilities on the world stage by actually engaging on all of these issues."
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