Armenian Assembly Discusses Priorities for 115th Congress with Caucus Leaders

WASHINGTON,
D.C.
– As legislators were completing work for the 114th Congress, Armenian
Assembly of America (Assembly) Executive Director Bryan Ardouny was on the Hill
meeting with Members of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues this month
recapping the year and discussing priorities for the 115th Congress.

During his meeting with Armenian Caucus Co-Chair
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ardouny discussed initiatives for the
115th Congress. He also reiterated the Assembly’s deep concerns regarding the
atrocities Azerbaijan committed during the military offensive it launched
during the April War, as further reported by Nagorno Karabakh’s Ombudsman,
Ruben Melikyan
.

According to the latest investigations, 3 out of the
31 incidences detailed in the report were citizens and not servicemen,
including a 92-year-old grandmother who was also tortured. The report also
identified 3 Nagorno Karabakh servicemen who were beheaded, noting that one was
executed by ISIS-style decapitation then publicized on social media as a
“trophy.” The Azerbaijani officer who showcased this Armenian
soldier’s head was then given a military award from Azerbaijan President Ilham
Aliyev.

In his meeting with Armenian Caucus Vice Co-Chair
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who serves as the Ranking Member of the House
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a wide range of issues were
discussed, including expanding the Caucus as well as strengthening U.S-Armenia
relations.

“As we look ahead to 2017, U.S. leadership
remains essential in addressing the challenges before us,” Ardouny stated.
“The Armenian Caucus, with its bipartisan leadership team, will play a
pivotal role and we anticipate a very active and energized Caucus as we
continue to advance important priorities in the new Congress and Administration,”
he added.

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©(3) tax-exempt
membership organization.

Photo
Caption 1: Armenian Assembly Executive
Director Bryan Ardouny and Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.
(D-NJ).

Photo
Caption 2: Armenian Assembly Executive
Director Bryan Ardouny and Armenian Caucus Vice Co-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA).    

White House Submits Budget to Congress

Armenian Assembly of America Advances Key Priorities for Armenia and Artsakh

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As President
Barack Obama sent his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) to
Congress this week, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) continues to
advance key priorities for Armenia and Artsakh.

In a recent meeting with State
Department officials, Assembly leaders reiterated their concerns over
Azerbaijan’s ongoing cease-fire violations, including the targeting of a
kindergarten, and the dual blockade of Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan. In
addition, the Assembly also expressed its concerns for the safety and
well-being of Christians at risk in the Middle East, including those fleeing
Iraq and Syria who are taking refuge in Armenia.

The FY17 budget request includes $22.4
million in economic support funds for Armenia, a increase from FY16. The
President’s budget also maintains military parity between Armenia and
Azerbaijan, at $1 million for Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $600,000 for
International Military Education and Training (IMET), a decrease from last
year. In addition, the Administration proposed $1.7 million in international
narcotics control and law enforcement, which is the same as last year. The
Administration’s budget also maintains Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act,
which restricts assistance to Azerbaijan until it ceases its hostile actions
against Armenia.

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The proposed budget also envisions
nearly $3 billion for migration and refugee assistance, highlighting that
“the world is struggling with humanitarian crises that are unprecedented,
both in severity and duration. Through the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and
Migration (PRM)’s global programs, the U.S. government seeks to protect and assist
the world’s most vulnerable people including refugees, conflict victims,
internally displaced persons (IDPs), stateless persons, and vulnerable
migrants.”

“The Assembly will continue to
advance key priorities for the benefit of the Armenian people and the
strengthening of U.S.-Armenia relations, as it did last year with its testimony
before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees,” stated Assembly
Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “We must ensure that Armenia has the
resources to address the compelling humanitarian needs as a result of the
crisis in Syria and the influx of refugees going to Armenia,” Ardouny
added.

Armenia is also slated to receive
funding through a renewable energy pilot project known as the Program for
Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SREP). SREP helps demonstrate the economic,
social, and environmental viability of low-carbon development pathways. The
overall value of currently planned SREP investments is $604 million for 18
countries, including Armenia.

The Administration’s proposal comes as
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are considering a $4 billion
bailout for Azerbaijan, which the Assembly strongly opposed in a January 29
letter
to Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The
Assembly will continue to oppose any bailout of Azerbaijan, especially if it
includes U.S. taxpayer dollars.

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 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.