ANCA Welcomes Congressional ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter Outlining FY2021 Aid Priorities including Artsakh Demining and Rehabilitation Assistance
WASHINGTON—The Congressional Armenian Caucus is calling for a $100 million aid package for Armenia and robust aid for Artsakh’s life-saving demining and rehabilitation assistance as House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Hal Rogers (R-KY) begin crafting the FY2021 Foreign Aid Bill, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
“Meaningful increases in Fiscal Year 2021 technical assistance to Armenia for important priorities – including for freedom of the press, judicial independence, anti-corruption, and civil society purposes – will have an exponentially positive impact on the country’s budding democratic institutions,” stated the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter circulated earlier today by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), which included the following budgetary requests:
- $100 million for economic, governance, rule of law, and security assistance to Armenia through State Department and USAID accounts.
- $1.5 million for Artsakh demining and robust funding for regional rehabilitation services for survivors of landmine injuries and individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities.
- That the State Department and USAID lift any official or unofficial restrictions on U.S. travel, communication, or contacts with Artsakh government officials.
- The suspension of U.S. military aid for Azerbaijan until it has been verified to have ceased all attacks against Armenia and Artsakh.
Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Barbara Lee(D-CA), and Grace Napolitano (D-CA) have already joined the Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders in co-signing the letter.
“We want to thank Representatives Pallone, Speier, and Schiff and their colleagues in the leadership of the Armenian Caucus for advancing an aid package for Artsakh and Armenia which represents a true investment in peace,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “U.S. assistance continues to play a critical role in the expansion of Armenia’s economic, defense, and democracy development, and returns long-term dividends for U.S. security and economic interests, while helping to advance American values across the region for decades to come.”
The ‘Dear Colleague’ comes as the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations heard testimony from Congressional members on their FY2021 foreign aid priorities, including Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) who stressed the importance of expanded U.S. demining assistance to Artsakh. Members of Congress have until Friday, February 28th, to submit written testimony to the key House foreign aid panel outlining their aid priorities. Additional calls for expanded U.S. aid to Armenia and Artsakh are anticipated by the ANCA.
The policy priorities outlined by the Armenian Caucus, which annually spearheads bipartisan efforts to secure support for Armenian-related aid appropriation, align with ANCA testimony presented last week to the House panel tasked with writing the FY2021 foreign aid bill.