Dear President Biden: It’s time to help Armenian Christians

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January 25, 2023

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC. 20500


Dear President Biden:


Since December 12th a blockade along the Lachin Corridor has cut the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, largely Armenian Christians, off from the outside world, creating a humanitarian disaster that will soon reach a critical point. As an organization devoted to supporting indigenous Christian communities in the Near East, we have done our utmost, along with other organizations, to raise awareness. But media coverage until very recently has been sparse, and international interest in resolving the crisis is tepid at best.


Day by day the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh grows more dire, as routine shipments of basic supplies, medicines, and food supply on which the region is utterly dependent remain completely shut off, save a handful of International Red Cross humanitarian convoys. Soon the situation will become untenable for the 120,000 Armenians of Artsakh. That’s why we joined a recent warning issued by the Armenian National Committee of America that describes how more than a dozen risk factors for crimes against humanity are present in this mountain enclave. Some feel we are on the verge of a second Armenian genocide.


It is a manufactured crisis of Baku’s sinister design. Though thinly disguised as work of eco-activists protesting mining operations, the blockade’s intent was laid bare by President Aliyev ‘s offer that the road out was open to any Armenians who wished to leave. Ethnic cleansing…not eco-activism.


We acknowledge that this is a complex situation with a checkered past. The historic powerbroker in the region, Russia, has not mediated as it has in the past, perhaps because their ongoing, unjust war in Ukraine limits them from being more assertive.   It certainly can’t have made them more receptive to entreaties from the West to be more helpful. Meanwhile, Turkey has been unsurprisingly unwilling to rein in its Azeri protege.


We appreciate that members of your administration – Secretary Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan, in particular – have engaged diplomatically in an attempt to hasten negotiations that might resolve the ongoing crisis.  But the exigencies of the situation require more than the normal pace of diplomacy and actions beyond the release of public statements of condemnation.


To disarm the current crisis and move the parties toward meaningful negotiations we urge you to do the following things.  First, mobilize immediate humanitarian assistance to the Armenians blockaded in Nagorno-Karabakh.  Second, lend the full weight of your office and exercise personal leadership in working with allies to lift Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor, including using the power of U.S. sanctions—economic and diplomatic—to motivate the Azeri government.  Last, continue to engage meaningfully after the end of the blockade and throughout long-promised negotiations to help ensure a lasting and just peace.


From the start, your administration promised to put human rights at the center of its foreign policy, and you demonstrated clear moral leadership early in your presidency when you officially recognized the Armenian genocide.   We urge you to make good on that promise and that you avert a second Armenian genocide by taking decisive action now.


The lives of 120,000 Armenians and nearly 1,700 years of Christian culture hang in the balance.



Robert Nicholson

President and CEO of The Philos Project



CC: The Honorable Anthony Blinken, Secretary of the Department of State, and Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs



The lives of 120,000 Armenians and nearly 1,700 years of Christian culture hang in the balance.