Continued Congressional Support Can Clear Artsakh of Mines by 2020
WASHINGTON—Armenian Americans from across California’s Central Valley and around the United States have joined with anti-landmine advocates in praising the work of Congressman David Valadao (R-Calif.)—a nationally respected figure on the influential House Appropriations Committee—for his leadership in seeking support for the completion of a decade-long, life-saving U.S. campaign to protect the families of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) from mines and other deadly unexploded ordnance, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Congressman Valadao has been a leading voice in the U.S. House behind bipartisan efforts to ensure that the fiscal year 2018 foreign aid bill prioritizes continued support for the HALO Trust, a nongovernmental organization that has, since 2006, destroyed 8,733 anti-personnel landmines, 2,584 anti-tank landmines, 180,858 small arms ammunition, 12,423 cluster bombs, and 48,572 other explosives in and around Armenia and Artsakh. That heroic work has saved countless lives, avoided untold suffering, cleared vast areas for farming, and more broadly contributed meaningfully to regional stability and the prospects for a durable and democratic peace.
“I value my partnership with the Armenian National Committee of America on this life-saving, peace-making initiative,” said Congressman Valadao. “De-mining saves lives and prevents life-altering injuries, providing economic opportunities to family farmers to work their land free from the fear of mine-related threats, and, longer-term, creating the conditions for a negotiated peace between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.”
“We are fortunate that Armenians Americans from across the San Joaquin Valley are represented in Washington, DC by such a strong and effective legislative leader, one who both cares deeply about the folks back home and has a proven track record of delivering results for them in our nation’s capital,” said the ANCA Central California’s Sevag Tateosian. “We are encouraged by Congressman Valadao’s strong leadership and look forward to continuing to energetically back his bipartisan efforts on Artsakh aid and all our policy priorities.”
The ANCA spearheaded the bipartisan Congressional launch of the U.S. aid program to Artsakh in the FY98 foreign aid bill and has actively supported transformative projects providing maternal healthcare, clean drinking water, and mine clearance.
The 21st District of California represented by Congressman Valadao is centered in the San Joaquin Valley, home to tens of thousands of Armenian Americans, including many leaders in the region’s thriving agriculture sector.