Washington, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) welcomed a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urging additional U.S. assistance to Lebanon “to address the immediate humanitarian crisis facing the country, aid in the recovery effort – including medical care and treatment for the injured and efforts for cleanup of the blast site and other impacted areas.”
The Assembly-backed letter was spearheaded by Members of the U.S.-Lebanon Friendship Caucus including Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Garret Graves (R-LA), and Donna Shalala (D-FL). The letter garnered the bipartisan support of 89 Members, comprised of 47 Members of the Armenian Caucus, including caucus leaders Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
The letter also stated in part: “Given the vast economic impact from the damage to the Beirut port, the disruption of supplies for imported goods, and the loss of almost 80 percent of Lebanon’s grain and wheat reserves, continued American commitment to the Lebanese people will help address the estimated billions of dollars in losses and support long term stability in Lebanon and the region.”
“Lebanon is facing a major humanitarian crisis in the midst of a global pandemic. As a Member of Lebanese descent, I commend the Department of State for the $15 million we have pledged in relief. However, more will likely be needed to truly address the long term impacts the Beirut explosion will have and help the people of Lebanon,” said Armenian Caucus Member Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL).
“The horrific explosion in Beirut earlier this week and its impact have been felt across the globe. We welcome and commend this bipartisan initiative to ensure additional and immediate humanitarian relief,” stated Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “Lebanon holds a special place in our hearts and minds with its religious, educational, cultural and social institutions all serving the Armenian community and beyond. It is inspiring to see everyone coming together to help in whatever way they can. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Lebanon,” Ardouny continued.
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.