WASHINGTON – Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) stressed Artsakh’s status as a full functioning state after visiting the nation on September 18th in conjunction with an exchange of US and Armenian MPs.
The Congressman helicoptered to Artsakh with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) in the morning, stopped in Shushi to visit a technical school, then drove to Stepanakert to address the Artsakh parliament, followed by lunch with the speaker. He met with the President of Artsakh the day before and received a medal from the government in conjunction with his efforts to recognize Artsakh as an independent republic.
Pallone said that Artsakh deserves international recognition because it legally separated from the Soviet Union, exercising its self-determination with a referendum. It then defended itself in a difficult war and proceeded to set-up a democracy which exercises transparency and has achieved a level of economic development that is remarkable given the forces aligned against the country.
“Shushi is being transformed in one generation from a city that was mostly destroyed to one that has roads, housing and schools that are modern and up to date. A lot of this is with the help of the Armenian diaspora. I visited a technical school financed primarily by French philanthropists. The students are eagerly learning building and construction trades that will be important to the continued redevelopment of Artsakh. Its facilities and equipment were similar to school in the US,” Pallone said.
“Stepanakert looks almost completely rebuilt from the time of the Artsakh War. The Parliament is housed in a new building. Construction continues throughout the city with a new landmark church and completed hospital. I addressed the parliament and met with the speaker separately about the need for the US to play a large role in the Minsk process. The settlement must guarantee that Artsakh remain Armenian as an independent nation or part of Armenia. We also discussed the extent to which Azerbaijan continues its military buildup with its oil reserves and receives advanced equipment from other countries.
“The Armenian Caucus members intend to follow-up in Congress to see how we can cut off assistance to Azerbaijan, as long as they continue military action against Artsakh. We will push for conference building measures with Azerbaijan that might prevent an unintended war. We will also seek continued US aid to eliminate land mines and promote economic development in Artsakh,” Pallone concluded.
“We join with friends from across New Jersey and around the United States in welcoming Congressman Pallone’s most recent visit to Artsakh and thanking him for his tireless advocacy for the sovereignty and security of this proud republic,” said Dr. Artur Martirosyan of ANCA Eastern Region. “We look forward to continuing to work with him and his Congressional Armenian Caucus colleagues on the broad array of Armenian American policy priorities they champion as we expand the U.S.-Armenia and U.S.-Artsakh relationships.”