ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian Joins Legislators in Celebrating Artsakh’s Freedom, Supporting Talks toward a Durable and Democratic Peace
STEPANAKERT, Artsakh—Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee member Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) traveled to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) today, where, alongside government officials and ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian, they witnessed firsthand the independent Republic’s remarkable economic, democratic, and cultural progress, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“It was an honor to join Representatives Pallone and Gabbard, on the free soil of the independent Artsakh Republic, for this wonderful celebration of our shared commitment to the values of peace, freedom, and democracy,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “As our Congressional friends saw today, Artsakh is a very American story: the victory of a free people over foreign rule, the well-deserved and hard-earned triumph of democracy over dictatorship.”
Representatives Pallone and Gabbard visited Artsakh’s cultural and religious centers in Shushi and the capital, Stepanakert, then addressed members of parliament. Joining them on their visit were Robert Avetisyan, permanent representative of the Artsakh Republic to the U.S.; Maria Mehranian, president of the Armenia Fund; and Anthony Barsamian, co-chair of the Armenian Assembly of America.
Rep. Pallone has taken several trips to Artsakh, dating back to the 1990’s. During a press conference in Armenia on Tuesday, Rep. Pallone noted the important role Members of Congress can play in “creating some confidence-building measures and obviously pushing along a process that would lead to a peaceful settlement.” Rep. Pallone then offered an important proviso: “All of that necessitates that Karabagh (Artsakh) continue to be Armenian, and have its own self-determination,” said Rep. Pallone. “That, we will always insist on.”
Video of Rep. Pallone’s remarks to the press is available below.
Earlier this week, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair David Valadao (R-Calif.) also traveled to Artsakh, where he reviewed life-saving HALO Trust de-mining programs that he helped fund as a leading member of the House Appropriations Committee. During his meeting with HALO Trust Regional Director Ash Boddy and local leaders, Rep. Valadao saw firsthand the lifesaving efforts of the organization.
News coverage of his visit (in Armenian) is available below.
The Representative’s Artsakh visit is taking place during a Congressional delegation trip to the Republic of Armenia, organized by the Armenian Embassy in Washington, D.C., marking the anniversary of independence (Sept. 21) and exploring opportunities for expanded bilateral economic and political cooperation. The full delegation includes Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and David Valadao (R-Calif.); and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).
Members of Congress met with Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan in Armenia on Tuesday, during which time Representatives Pallone, Speier ,and Eshoo were awarded medals for their steadfast support for the growing republic.