WASHINGTON—Congressional Armenian Issues Caucus co-chairs Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. and Armenian Genocide Resolution sponsor Congressman Adam Schiff met with Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon Wednesday to address issues related to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. The meeting represented a continuing dialogue between the caucus and the Department of State on the importance of the U.S.-Armenia relationship.
In the meeting the members emphasized the importance of the Armenian Diaspora in the United States and the need to continue supporting the state of Armenia as a strong ally. As part of the relationship the members raised the importance of robust foreign aid funding to be directed to Armenia and the need for parity in military aid between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the President’s annual budget request.
The members also expressed concern over aggressive posturing by Azerbaijan and the importance of U.S. support of Nagorno Karabakh. The members called for policies that will show U.S. support of Nagorno Karabakh such as increased development and humanitarian assistance and their inclusion in the Minsk Group peace process. A continuing concern of the caucus, which was expressed, is a lack of funding directed to Nagorno Karabakh despite congressional approval of a higher level.
“The state of Armenia is a critical ally to the United States and the administration’s policies should reflect the importance of this relationship,” said Pallone. “While the Armenian Issues Caucus will continue to fight for higher levels of foreign assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, for official recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other issues important to the Armenian community, the State Department must know that strong action is needed on their behalf as well.”
The members called on the administration to take strong action to show support for Armenia and to challenge Turkey and Azerbaijan in their hostile policies towards Armenia.
“It is more important than ever that the United States support the right of self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Rep. Schiff said. “Directing these resources to Nagorno-Karabakh will not only help the people of the Karabakh cope with humanitarian crises resulting from the twin blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan, but it will also help to stabilize the region by demonstrating our continued commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. I will continue to fight for adequate resources for NKR, as well as formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide.”