WASHINGTON—Pro-Armenian activists—anywhere from Alaska and Arizona to Maine and Montana—responded to an Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) action alert last week by sending over 15,000 messages to federal officials on Capitol Hill in support of the Armenian-American policy priorities.
Emails sent from every U.S. state and nearly each of America’s 435 House districts outlined the full array of ANCA “asks” regarding a secure Artsakh, a strong Armenia, a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, and support for Syrian Armenians. This nationwide campaign was powered by the ANCA Rapid Responder system—an innovative opt-in advocacy program that allows activists to automatically send legislative messages in response to ANCA action alerts.
“It’s great to see so many folks signing up as ANCA Rapid Responders—across all ages, backgrounds, and geographic regions,” said ANCA IT Director Nerses Semerjian. “The popularity of this new opt-in program among all our key demographics represents a major driver of our online advocacy, ensuring that the messages of America’s pro-Armenian community are delivered with speed and impact across Capitol Hill.”
Last week, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian outlined the ANCA’s 2018 agenda in a comprehensive video, available below:
The messages sent to Capitol Hill last week by thousands of ANCA supporters echoed those priorities and are provided below:
Artsakh | Peace | Security | Aid
The key to reaching a durable and democratic settlement regarding the status and security of Artsakh—a longstanding U.S. foreign policy priority—is strengthening the 1994 ceasefire. The government and citizens of Artsakh are committed to strengthening their partnership with the U.S. government and deepening their ties to the American people.
- a) The Administration should renew U.S. pressure on Azerbaijan to stop obstructing the implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals for Artsakh, which suggest life-saving, common-sense ceasefire strengthening measures that have been endorsed by the State Department, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Armenia, and Artsakh:
- An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers, heavy arms, or new weaponry
- The placement of OSCE-monitored gunfire-locator systems to determine the source of attacks
- The deployment of additional OSCE observers to monitor ceasefire violations
- For its part, Congress should appropriate at least $20 million in FY19 to support implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals
- b) The U.S. should suspend military aid to Baku and strengthen Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.
- c) The President should request and the Congress should appropriate at least $8 million in aid to Artsakh, focusing on the following:
- The completion of HALO Trust’s demining work
- Rehabilitation services for infants, children, and adults with disabilities.
- d) The Administration and Congress should eliminate outdated and obsolete barriers to travel, contacts, and communication between U.S. and Artsakh government officials, political leaders, and other civil society stakeholders.
- e) The U.S. government should publicly mark the 30th anniversary of the Artsakh liberation movement and the anti-Armenian massacres in Azerbaijan. These historic developments helped spark a democratic wave that helped bring down the Soviet Empire.
Armenian Genocide | Justice
The U.S. cannot credibly speak out against present day atrocities—including those against religious minorities across the Middle East—while remaining silent on Turkey’s genocide of millions of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, and other Christians.
The U.S. government should override Turkey’s veto over honest American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide and stop outsourcing U.S. genocide policy to foreign regimes.
- a) President Trump—who ran on a platform of rejecting foreign influence over the U.S. government—should, in his April 24 statement, announce that America will no longer enforce Turkey’s gag-rule against honest U.S. remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
- b) The U.S. Congress—which is led by leaders in both houses and from both parties who have records of supporting proper Armenian Genocide remembrance—should pass bipartisan resolutions regarding the Armenian Genocide:
- Res.220, a U.S. House genocide prevention measure drawing upon the lessons of the Armenian Genocide
- Res.136, a U.S. Senate resolution seeking to ensure that U.S. foreign policy “reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity” of this crime
- c) Members of the U.S. Senate and House are invited to participate this April in the annual Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide commemoration, a solemn remembrance that pays tribute to the millions of Christian victims of this atrocity.
- d) Congressional intelligence panels should launch investigations into Turkey’s manipulation of American policy. These investigations should look into Ankara’s campaign to obstruct justice for the Armenian Genocide, with a special focus on the potential collusion of U.S officials.
Erdogan | Justice | Extradition
The Turkish government remains entirely unapologetic and arrogantly unrepentant regarding the May 16, 2017 attacks by President Erdogan’s bodyguards on peaceful American protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC.
The Administration should formally request that Turkey extradite members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail who have been criminally charged with attacking peaceful American protesters.
U.S. – Armenia | Partnership
The 100th anniversary the first Republic of Armenia marks a major milestone in the U.S.-Armenia partnership, an alliance characterized by the steady expansion of bilateral ties and continued cooperation on a broad array of multilateral, regional, and international challenges. Armenia participates in NATO’s Partnership for Peace and has provided troops for U.S.-led peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, and Mali.
U.S. can play a vital role in helping Armenia complete its aid-to-trade transition, moving toward a bilateral relationship defined by mutually beneficial commercial ties, strong cultural and political connections, and broad-based cooperation on international security concerns.
- a) The Administration should take up Armenia’s calls for a new Tax Treaty to eliminate the threat of double taxation, a major and unnecessary barrier to the growth of bilateral trade and investment.
- b) The Administration and Congress should take administrative and regulatory actions needed to support the launch of commercially viable nonstop Los Angeles-to-Yerevan passenger and cargo flights.
- c) The President should request, and the Congress should appropriate, at least $40 million in FY19 assistance for Armenia, with a focus on expanding the U.S.-Armenia economic ties and expanding military relations (NATO interoperability and participation in peacekeeping).
- d) The President should request, and the Congress should appropriate, at least $40 million in FY19 to support Armenia’s commendable efforts to serve as a regional safe haven for at-risk Middle East refugees.
- e) The Millennium Challenge Corporation should approve a new compact with Armenia to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in Armenia’s public schools.
- f) Members of the U.S. House should co-sign the annual Armenian Caucus letter to the leadership of the State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee, covering the full range of U.S. foreign aid priorities related to Armenia and Artsakh.
Regional Security | Turkey | Azerbaijan
The President and Congress need to keep U.S. arms and technology out of the hands of foreign regimes that will use them for offensive purposes, including, potentially, against the United States and our allies.
- a) The Administration should place a freeze on all proposed arms sales to Turkey, ranging from firearms to Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail all the way up to F-35s for the Turkish military.
- b) The Administration should—in the interest of regional security, nuclear safety, and nonproliferation—seriously re-evaluate the stationing of U.S. nuclear arms at Turkey’s Incirlik airbase.
- c) The Administration should oppose any direct sale of U.S. offensive or dual-use defense articles to Azerbaijan, and block any third-party licenses for the transfer of advanced U.S. weapons, parts, and technology to Baku, including for the Iron Dome system.