Historical background to the document "Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev connected with the discussions of "Porter Amendment" at the US Congress" (June 13, 1996)

Azerbaijan has struggled a long time intensively together with its supporters in the USA for repealing Section 907 to the Freedom Support Act of the US Congress which hindered cooperation between the US and Azerbaijan. It was especially manifested in blocking the "Porter Amendment", a formula which was to apply to Section 907 in summer and fall of 1996. (Fariz Rzaev, Section 907: History and Prospectives. (http://www.karabakh-doc.azerall.info/)

The amendment, authored by John Porter, a longtime member (1980-2001) of the Congress as a representative of the Republican Party, not only prevented the official US aid to Azerbaijan, but also created a danger of demonstration of unilateralness in the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that started as a result of Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan. According to the amendment Nagorno-Karabakh was to receive financial support as an independent party and it was creating the impression as if Nagorno-Karabakh was an independent entity, not a part of Azerbaijan. Thus, the internationally recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was doubted by the "Porter Amendment".

After the adoption of the amendment by the relevant Congress committees and submission for discussions in the Senate, President of Azerbaijan invited the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Kauzlarich to his residence and declared a protest in connection with this issue. Heydar Aliyev stated that it was non-understandable that the Congress was going to adopt this decision especially at the period of rapid development of the US-Azerbaijani cooperation, particularly in the sphere of energy, and it could seriously damage the mutual partnership. The Azerbaijani President reminded to the Ambassador that the US President Bill Clinton personally was against Section 907. (Heydar Aliyev. Our independence is forever (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, decrees) - "Azernashr" publishing, Baku-1993, vol. VI, pp. 438-439)

Heydar Aliyev's just protests have been supported by the White House and Department of State in Washington. The US President Administration's statement affirmed that the adoption of the draft law in its current form would have a destructive political interpretation. Thus, the "Porter Amendment" formula was corrected which meant no harm to the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan during the discussions of the draft in the Senate. The draft was signed by the US President Bill Clinton in September 1996. (Fariz Rzaev, Section 907: History and Prospectives. (http://www.karabakh-doc.azerall.info/)

Section 907, which was considered as a policy of discrimination of the USA in relation to Azerbaijan, was temporarily waived by the decision of the US President in January 2002. This decision was a logical result of struggle of Azerbaijan and its supporters and his active participation in the anti-terror coalition led by the USA. Azerbaijan continues its struggle for repealing this section.

Hafiz Pashayev, the first Azerbaijani Ambassador to the USA, one of the people who fought against Section 907, in his interview given in 2006, said that there was no logical reason for adoption of such a law against Azerbaijan and linked it with the defect of the US political system where small lobby groups bribing of voters was possible. (http://www.azer.com/)

Historical background was updated on July 3, 2007.