Breaking News: Armenian Assembly-Backed Letter on Aid to Lebanon Supported by 89 Members of Congress

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.

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Armenian Assembly Welcomes Passage of Speier-Cox-Krishnamoorthi Amendment in Support of Demining in Nagorno Karabakh

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) welcomed the inclusion of the Speier-Cox-Krishnamoorthi amendment regarding demining assistance to Nagorno Karabakh as part of H.R. 7608 – the Fiscal Year 2021 State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This bipartisan amendment, cosponsored by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Dave Cicilline (D-RI), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Max Rose (D-NY), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Dina Titus (D-NV),  provides $1.4 million in humanitarian demining assistance in Nagorno Karabakh.  It passed the House as part of an en bloc package of amendments.

“We applaud Representatives Speier, Cox and Krishnamoorthi along with the over 30 cosponsors who introduced this bipartisan amendment. Landmine clearance is critically important to continue to help save lives. As Congressman Sherman indicated earlier today in a hearing on the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, USAID needs to finish the job (referring to demining in Nagorno Karabakh),” stated Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan.

In its testimony before the House and Senate, the Assembly has consistently and repeatedly advocated for robust assistance for the people of Artsakh, including demining. For a relatively small investment, the United States can make a significant difference for the people of Nagorno Karabakh, especially for the children.

Khaloyan added: “Inclusion of this amendment is a testament to the shared values between the United States and Nagorno Karabakh, and stands in stark contrast to the ill-conceived attempts to prohibit such assistance, in lockstep with Azerbaijan and its Laundromat lobbyists, to marginalize the Armenian people. The Assembly remains deeply troubled by Azerbaijan’s attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, which started earlier this month, including threats to target Armenia’s nuclear power plant.”

“We are overjoyed to see the House of Representatives include funding in the State and Foreign Operations bill for humanitarian demining in Nagorno Karabakh. We are especially grateful to Representatives Speier, Cox, and Krishnamoorthi for leading this effort, and want to thank the many other Members of Congress that have worked so hard to help ensure that HALO’s life-saving work can continue,” said Kristen Stevens, Government Affairs Manager, The HALO Trust (USA)

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.

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