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 Thursday, May 23 2024 11:39
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Armenian Assembly of America reinforces $250mln aid package for  Armenia in key House Committee testimony

Armenian Assembly of America reinforces $250mln aid package for  Armenia in key House Committee testimony

ArmInfo. Today, in a meeting with Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), the Armenian  Assembly of America (Assembly) Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian and Executive Director Bryan Ardouny thanked the Congressman for spearheading a bipartisan letter requesting a $250 million aid package to Armenia and sanctions against Azerbaijan.

They also discussed the unique position that Armenian NGOs have played, and  continue to play, in providing much-needed assistance to the Armenian  people in the aftermath of Azerbaijan's genocidal campaign, which  culminated last Fall with over 100,000 Armenians driven from the  ancestral homeland, and seeking refuge in Armenia.

Reinforcing the bipartisan request, the Assembly in its testimony  before a key House Committee, noted that the U.S. "is uniquely  positioned to ensure that Armenia has the necessary tools and  resources to protect its people and defend its borders," and called  and urged Congress and the Administration to "provide defensive  weapons to further assist Armenia in protecting its sovereignty." 

The Assembly emphasized the importance of humanitarian assistance as  a result of the "ensuing humanitarian crisis caused by Azerbaijan's  ethnic cleansing," stating that "U.S. assistance can also play a role  in preventing further genocide." The Assembly specifically called for  funds to be "made available to Armenian American private voluntary  organizations" that have proven most cost effective.  

 

With respect to the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh, the Assembly  urged Congress to "help ensure that the fundamental right of return,"  as well as the "fundamental principles of democracy, the right to  self- determination, and the universal human rights of the people of  Artsakh are upheld," and for the U.S. to hold Azerbaijan "accountable  for its gross human rights violations."

Upholding the letter and spirit of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support  Act, the Assembly expressly endorsed H.R. 7288, the Armenian  Protection Act of 2024, and urged its inclusion. The Assembly's  testimony also made clear that U.S. military or security assistance  should not be provided to Azerbaijan.

The Assembly also urged the inclusion of language calling for the  immediate release of all prisoners of war and captive civilians held  by Azerbaijan, including Artsakh's leaders who have been detained and  subjected to "sham trials."

 

"The United States has taken a strong stand in support of democracy  in Ukraine and should do the same for the Armenian people who also  face existential threats," the testimony concluded. "The Assembly's  position is clear: stand up for democracy and human rights; oppose  genocide and hold Azerbaijan accountable by imposing sanctions."

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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