YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The All-Armenian Fund Hayastan will hold yet another telethon in Los Angeles next month to finance the ongoing construction of a new strategic highway in Nagorno-Karabakh–fund executives said on Tuesday. The 170-kilometer road–estimated to cost $25 million–would link the northern and southern edges of the Armenian-populated enclave. Some $5 million in donation pledges were received during the previous telethon late last year.
The money–the bulk of it contributed by Armenian-Americans–allowed the construction of the first 10 kilometer section of the road to get underway earlier this year.
The executive director of Hayastan–Vahan Ter-Ghevondian–told reporters that the fund hopes to raise a similar sum on November 23. He said the11-hour telethon will this time attract a larger audience as it will be broadcast live by Armenian state television which can be watched Diaspora communities in Europe and the Middle East.
The pan-Armenian charity has spent about $70 million on various infrastructure projects in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh since its establishment in 1992. One of its main accomplishmen’s has been the construction of a modern highway linking Armenia with Karabakh through the so-called Lachin corridor. Karabakh remained the largest recipient of Hayastan aid in 1999–with about $2 million spent on roads–housing and social programs.
Ter-Ghevondian said the fund’s revenues are on track to grow by one third this year following a two-year decline. He called for greater participation in fund-raising activities by residents of Armenia–complaining that the amount of contributions from local business people has so far been negligible.