General historical background of Section 907 of "Freedom Support Act" of the US Congress and the activity of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in connection with its repeal

In October 1992, the US Congress adopted a law, "Freedom Support Act" regulating the USA assistance to the former soviet. The US government`s aid to Azerbaijan was banned due to Section 907. (

The Armenian lobby which supports the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan influenced much to the adoption of this law. The Congressmen influenced by the propaganda and one-sided information by the Armenian community and lobby adopted Section 907 as if Azerbaijan had blockaded Armenia, and used violence against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. But until Section 907 entered into force in January 1993, the Armenians had already occupied Shusha, the last town of Azerbaijan controlled within the Nagorno-Karabakh and Lachin which is outside the Nagorno-Karabakh and committed a genocide against the civil population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojali before its occupation.

As a result of the adoption of Section 907, Azerbaijan, which newly gained its independence and faced great hardships was deprived of the US aid for 8 years. The US assistance in the various forms that came to Azerbaijan was realized by NGOs. It was very limited compared with Armenia.

After Heydar Aliyev`s coming to power in 1993, and signature of the oil contract with the USA companies in 1994, the activities for the repeal of Section 907 have grown.

In January 1996 the US Congress adopted a law which was called the Wilson amendment. The amendment which was named after Charles Wilson, a congressman from Democrats, authorized the US President to aid to Azerbaijan directly in case he concluded that the assistance at the level of NGOs was insufficient. Despite of it, discrimination against Azerbaijan regarding financial assistance continued.

In the September of the same year, under the pressure of the Azerbaijani administration on the US President and Department of State the adoption of another law against Azerbaijan was prevented. Then a draft law was proposed by John Porter, a senator from the Democrats, and called the "Porter Amendment" was adopted, but it regarded the Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent entity. If this law was adopted, it would have created a danger for the recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan by the United States.

President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev called the then US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Kauzlarich and expressed his deep concern because of this issue. The US political circles also confirmed the harmful essence of this amendment. (

The representatives of the US President also spoke against this draft. Finally, the Porter amendment was corrected and the item which considered the Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent entity was changed. It was conveyed as "assistance to Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh". (Fariz Rzaev, Section 907: history and prospects. (

During his official visit to the USA on July 27-August 7, 1997, on his meetings with the President Bill Clinton and Congress members President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev stressed the importance of the repeal of Section 907 which greatly damaged the US-Azerbaijani relations.

On August 1, 1997, during his talk with Heydar Aliyev Bill Clinton said that the US Congress will change his attitude to Section 907. He said that aids first will be rendered to Azerbaijan, then Section 907 will be repealed. (Together Towards The New Century, official visit of Heydar Aliyev, The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States of America, 27 July-7 August 1997, Translated by Rauf Husseinov, p.13.)

The chairman of the Senate of the US Congress Newt Gingrich as well, said to Heydar Aliyev that the repeal of Section 907 was important. Heydar Aliyev mentioned this issue at his meeting with the members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, too. At the meeting he stated that idea about the existence of a law which granted independence to the Nagorno-Karabakh was false, this was a view of Frank Pallone, pro-armenian congressman influenced by the Armenian lobby. Heydar Aliyev said to the senators that the Nagorno-Karabakh was established in 1923 as an autonomous region within Azerbaijan.

At the meeting in the House of Representatives the US legislators said to the Azerbaijani President that they were against Section 907.

As a result of the resistance of the US Armenian community and lobby, Section 907 was not repealed, nevertheless the US rendered limited assistance to Azerbaijan in 1997-2000.

During his visit to the USA in February 2000, the issues of military cooperation blocked more by Section 907 were discussed with the US Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Cohen said that he will raise the issue in the Congress for creating opportunities to strengthen the contacts in the sphere of security by avoiding Section 907. (Together Towards The New Century, official visit of Heydar Aliyev, The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States of America, 27 July-7 August 1997, Translated by Rauf Husseinov, p.32.)

In 1997-2000 the Clinton administration made efforts to repeal of Section 907 in the Congress. Two major organizations of the US Armenians - American Armenian Assembly and the American National Committee of Armenians held different opinions regarding Section 907.While the Assembly was for the repeal of Section 907 which banned the US military assistance to Armenia, Committee was against it. (

There emerged a chance at least but the temporary suspension of Section 907 after the events of September 11, 2001. Joining to the anti-terror coalition, Azerbaijan assisted to the military operations of the USA in Afghanistan by opening its air space to the American planes. A military cooperation was needed in the framework of those contacts. Thus, the US President George Bush took a decision for the temporary suspension of Section 907 in January 2002.

It was repeated in 2003-2004. The US President`s instructions mentioned the importance of strengthening the security of the borders of Azerbaijan for increasing the efficiency of the anti-terror coalition. (

The US rendered financial assistance to Armenia in the sum of $ 1,6 billion, but $ 60 million to Azerbaijan. In 1992-2005 in the framework of the Freedom Support Act. In 2006, the USA rendered assistance to Azerbaijan in the sum of $ 48 million, to Armenia in the sum of $ 82million. (

The Azerbaijani side does not consider the temporary waive of Section 907 sufficient. In his talk with the US Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich Heydar Aliyev said that the waive of Section 907 was of moral importance.

Historical background was compiled on November 22, 2006.