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On Waiving Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, on October 24, 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed the FREEDOM Support Act into law. This legislation provided for monetary assistance to be provided to the countries of the former Soviet Union to aid their transition to democracy and build-up their civil societies.
Included in the legislation was Section 907, a provision which precluded the Republic of Azerbaijan from receiving any assistance through the FREEDOM Support Act. Azerbaijan was the only country to be singled out in the statute from receiving assistance.

Since then, cooperation between the United States and Azerbaijan has expanded beyond recognition--encompassing military, intelligence, economic, business, academic, and cultural ties. This has resulted in increasing the security and prosperity of both countries.

Given Azerbaijan's strong partnership with allies such as Israel, and its proximity to Iran, the extent of their contribution to our security cannot be overstated. For this reason, Section 907 has been waived by Executive Order every year since 2001 by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

While these Executive Orders have largely mitigated the practical effects of Section 907, its lingering presence as a part of U.S. law is offensive to Azerbaijan and its people. As American companies prosper from helping access and transport Azerbaijan's rich natural resources, and as Azerbaijani troops stand side-by-side with America's heroes against international terrorism, it is disingenuous to single out our ally as a pariah state.

Every Secretary of State over the past two decades and many prominent members of the American business community support the repeal of Section 907. Twenty years after it was signed into law, Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act has become a relic of a previous era and a slap in the face to America's closest ally in the Caspian Region, and I call on my colleagues in Congress to help stand up in support of our friend, Azerbaijan, and repeal Section 907 as expeditiously as possible.


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