WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) welcomes H.Res. 697, introduced by Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) reported. The legislation supports United States-Artsakh relations, and calls for free and open communication, as well as travel, between the two nations at all levels of civil society and government.
“We welcome the resolution proposed by Congressman Frank Pallone titled ‘U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication’ aimed at establishing contacts between Artsakh and the United States and breaking down artificial barriers to visiting Artsakh by the U.S. officials,” said Artsakh Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ani Sargsyan. “We are convinced that the mutual visits of official representatives of the two states, as well as an open and direct dialogue between our countries will contribute to the solution of the existing problems in the region. International cooperation, based on the principle of inclusion and not exclusion is also an important factor for reducing tension in the region.”
Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny and Congressional Relations & Grassroots Associate Mariam Khaloyan discussed the resolution with Congressman Pallone this week, highlighting, among other issues, the importance of the cease-fire monitoring regime given Azerbaijan’s ongoing and deadly violations.
H.Res. 697 notes the importance of placing “OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.”
The resolution continued that the House of Representatives: “(1) affirms its commitment to supporting actions that encourage visits and communication between officials from the United States and Artsakh at all levels, including cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials, to travel to Artsakh and openly and directly communicate with their Artsakh counterparts; (2) encourages open communication, meetings, and other direct contacts between officials of Artsakh and the executive and legislative branches of the United States, representatives of State and local governments, and representatives of American civil society; and (3) calls for the full and direct participation of the democratically-elected Government of the Republic of Artsakh in all OSCE and other negotiations regarding its future.”
“The United States should be supporting the free flow of dialogue and ideas across the globe,” Congressman Pallone stated. “Artsakh has a successful democratic government and it should not be precluded from interacting with the United States and other nations. My visit to Artsakh in September further revealed the enormous strides that Artsakh has made in recent years, and others should be given the same opportunity that I had. Rather than hindering our relationship with Artsakh through non-recognition, the United States should embrace increased communications and travel to Artsakh,” he continued.
Congressman Pallone traveled to Stepanakert with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Artsakh Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan, Artsakh Representative to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan, and Armenia Fund, Inc. President Maria Mehranian during a Congressional Delegation visit to Armenia. While in Artsakh, he stressed the importance of its status as an autonomous and fully functioning democratic state.
As part of an Armenian Assembly of America-sponsored delegation, Congressman Pallone first visited Artsakh twenty years ago. During an historic address before the Parliament of Nagorno Karabakh on January 28, 1997, Rep. Pallone stated, “I hope that my visit to Karabagh, and especially my presence in your legislative body today, will contribute in some small way to a growing international recognition that the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh is a reality.”
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.