Rep. Pallone and Assembly Each Submit Congressional Testimony in Support of Armenia and Artsakh
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, President Donald Trump expressed his readiness to work with Armenia on a host of areas of mutual interest, including “strengthening trade ties, democratic institutions, and regional security,” reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The letter also emphasized the importance of peacefully resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
In a related development, Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) submitted testimony today before the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee stating that “the generosity of the American people has carried through to this day, helping usher in Democratic reforms for Armenia…These reforms are now on full display after peaceful protests in April led to the democratic and fair election of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.”
“I believe the Fiscal Year 2019 House budget should reflect an unwavering commitment to strengthening the independence of the Republic of Armenia, promoting peace in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), and supporting Armenia as a regional safe haven for at-risk Middle East refugees. These investments will only help to advance and strengthen U.S. interests in the region and around the world,” Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Pallone stated.
Congressman Pallone also recalled the benefits of U.S. aid to Armenia and Artsakh, which in the past helped to provide maternal health care, support a multi-year HALO Trust land mine and unexploded ordnance clearance effort, rehabilitation centers, and funds for badly needed water systems in Artsakh. He recommended that FY19 appropriations bill should include $6 million to strengthen these critical programs.
In addition, he recommended: $20 million to help Armenia support refugees from Syria and throughout the Middle East who have found safe haven in the homeland; $4 million for the OSCE Minsk Group to invest in peace for Artsakh and allow for the placement of advanced gunfire locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the Line of Contact; $30 million in economic aid; $10 million in military aid, including funds for the Foreign Military Financing Program and the International Military Education and Training Program; and strong consideration of another U.S.-Armenia compact through the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The Congressman concluded: “Taking these steps will continue to build on the U.S.-Armenia strategic relationship and showcase its importance.”
Last month, Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny submitted testimony for U.S. assistance and policy in the South Caucasus region. The Assembly’s testimony calls for: $40 million in U.S. economic assistance to Armenia; $20 million to support Armenia’s efforts to serve as a regional safe haven for refugees; $4 million to promote peace and accountability through the placement of advanced gunfire locator systems and other equipment to determine the source of attacks along the Line of Contact; $10 million in U.S. military assistance to Armenia; $8 million to Artsakh; assistance to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia; regional energy security; and reaffirmation of the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide.
In his testimony, Ardouny also praised Rep. Pallone and his colleagues, Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), for traveling to Armenia last September, with several Members also visiting Artsakh. Ardouny strongly encouraged Members to travel to Armenia and Artsakh this year as well, which not only marks the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia, but also celebrates the 2,800th anniversary of Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan.
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.