WASHINGTON—The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a longtime advocate for Armenian issues in Congress Ed Royce (R-Calif.) announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
“In this final year of my Foreign Affairs Committee chairmanship, I want to focus fully on the urgent threats facing our nation, including: the brutal, corrupt and dangerous regimes in Pyongyang and Tehran, Vladimir Putin’s continued efforts to weaponize information to fracture western democracies, and growing terrorist threats in Africa and Central Asia,” Royce said in a statement Monday. “With this in mind, and with the support of my wife Marie, I have decided not to seek reelection in November.”
Since being elected to Congress in 1992, Royce has represented Orange County, which is home to a significant Armenian community.
During his tenure in Congress, Royce has been a staunch supporter of United States recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh, and comprehensive U.S. trade with and investment in Armenia.
“Americans of Armenian heritage honor the service and leadership of the longstanding chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and author of the Royce-Engel Artsakh Peace Proposals, who, today, announced he will be retiring from Congress at the end of this year,” said the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) on a Facebook post Monday.
“The ANCA Western Region (ANCA-WR) has worked very closely with Chairman Ed Royce for many years and is truly grateful for the unwavering commitment he has shown in supporting Armenia, Artsakh, and justice for the Armenian Genocide. We are deeply sorry that he will be retiring at the end of his term, but we look forward to continuing our important work with him until then. We thank him for his genuine friendship and constructive collaboration, and we wish him well as he pursues new ventures in the private sector,” said Nora Hovsepian, chairwoman of the ANCA-WR.
A member of the Armenian Congressional Caucus, Royce had spearheaded efforts to recognize the Armenian Genocide and was the author of the Royce-Engel Artsakh Peace proposals, which, following the April 2016 War, called for specific mechanisms to be placed along the Artsakh-Azerbaijani border, known as the line of contact, to monitor attacks and border skirmishes. This proposal was welcomed by the State Department as well as by the co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.
In 2017, Royce took the lead in advancing condemnation and demands for punishment of Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards who brutally beat and attacked protesters in Washington during Erdogan’s trip to the U.S. capital.
In October, Royce appeared alongside Rep. Adam Schiff on a panel moderated by the politics editor of Politico, Charlie Mahtesian, during the ANCA-WR’s centerpiece Grassroots Conference. During his presentation, Royce once again voiced support for the people of Artsakh and delineated efforts to ensure the Royce-Engel proposals are properly enacted.
“We will introduce equipment that can pick up the direction of artillery shells or mortars and attach responsibility to where they’re being fired from…. It seems to me that’s the first order of business,” Royce told the ANCA-WR Grassroots conference.