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 Friday, March 17 2017 14:41

Marianna Mkrtchyan

Congressman Adam Schiff calls to increase US financial aid to Artsakh  and Armenia

Congressman Adam Schiff calls to increase US financial aid to Artsakh  and Armenia

ArmInfo.Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff delivered powerful testimony Thursday before key House foreign aid appropriators,  calling for the expansion of U.S. assistance to Artsakh (Nagorno  Karabakh) and Armenia, and the implementation of measures to check  escalating Azerbaijani aggression, reported the Armenian National  Committee of America.

The California Democrat, who also serves as a Vice-Chair of the  Congressional Armenian Caucus, offered his recommendations during a  hearing of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on  State-Foreign Operations, led by Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and  Ranking Democrat Nita Lowey (D-NY), as this panel prepares the Fiscal  Year 2018 (FY18) foreign aid bill.

In voicing his support for increased U.S. assistance to Artsakh, Rep.  Schiff noted that he is "deeply disturbed by the escalation of  violence in the last year and the major military assault by  Azerbaijani forces against the people of Artsakh," noting the "strong  evidence of human rights abuses on the part of Azeri troops, and the  appalling desecration of the bodies of Armenian and Artsakh  citizens." Rep. Schiff went on to outline three concrete steps  Congress can take to address these concerns, including implementation  of the Royce-Engel peace proposals, the suspension of U.S. military  aid to Azerbaijan, and the expansion of humanitarian aid to Artsakh.

Rep. Schiff stressed that the U.S.-Armenia relationship "is founded  upon a shared commitment to freedom and democratic values," citing  Armenia's participation in U.S. led peacekeeping deployments. He  emphasized the importance of ongoing foreign military financing  assistance for peacekeeping purposes, funding for U.S. training  opportunities for Armenian officers, and recommended no less than $40  million in U.S. economic assistance to Armenia.

Rep. Schiff also focused on the important role Armenia has played as  a "regional safe haven for Middle East refugees," noting that over  20,000 individuals from Syria have found a new home in Armenia. The  Congressman requested that the Subcommittee's proposed FY18 foreign  aid bill include provisions supporting Armenia's efforts through aid  and international organizations.

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