22 US Senators Join 89 Representatives to Reverse Trump Attempt to De-Fund Artsakh Aid

ANCA thanks Bob Menendez for leading Senate drive to save Artsakh de-mining

22 U.S. Senators representing 16 states and over 143 million Americans called for continued U.S. aid for Artsakh de-mining. The Senate initiative was led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

WASHINGTON, DC–Congressional opposition to the Trump administration attempts to cut U.S. aid for the Artsakh de-mining continues to grow with 22 Senators from 16 states representing 143 million Americans today joining 89 U.S. Representatives who, earlier this week, co-signed a letter defending this life-saving program, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Senate letter, spearheaded by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)–the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee–encourages USAID Administrator Mark Green to reverse course and continue U.S. funding for the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) de-mining program. Administrator Green testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee on April 9 of this year that USAID was committed to completing the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnances within the traditional boundaries of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“This type of humanitarian assistance to support the victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has long been recognized as important and I believe it remains critical that we continue to support demining efforts in the region,” said Senator Menendez. “As we made clear in our letter, any changes to USAID’s commitment to complete the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnances saving lives in Nagorno-Karabakh will be met with broad opposition in Congress.”

“The powerful response by Senators and Representatives to the Administration’s ill-advised attempt to cut U.S. aid to Artsakh demonstrates the broad-based support enjoyed by this life-saving humanitarian program,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We thank Senator Menendez for his principled leadership and all the Senators – representing 143 million Americans – who, on short notice, during a Congressional recess, took a stand for this investment in peace.”

The letter cites the Senate’s consistent bipartisan support for Artsakh assistance, referencing report language in the Fiscal year 2016, 2017 and 2018 foreign aid bills.  “Given the unknown amount of landmines and unexploded ordnance jeopardizing lives in Nagorno-Karabakh, continuing to fund humanitarian landmine clearance programs is critical,” stated the Senators in the letter.  The Senators concluded citing USAID’s own assertion that U.S. funding for de-mining “made the region undoubtedly safer,” and asserted: “Clearance work remains to be done and the people of Nagorno-Karabakh cannot afford to have that work ended or disrupted by a lack of funds. We strongly urge USAID to reconsider its decision to end funding for humanitarian landmine clearance in Nagorno-Karabakh at the end of the year.”

U.S. Senate and House members received thousands of letters and calls from constituents through the ANCA Rapid Responder system and March to Justice platforms in support of continued aid to Artsakh, with the ANCA Leo Sarkisian and Maral Melkonian Avetisyan summer fellows meeting with legislators and hundreds of Capitol Hill staffers in support of the initiative.

The Senators joining Senator Menendez in co-signing the letter to USAID Administrator Mark Green are Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), 2020 Presidential Candidates Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Robert Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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ANCA

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues. To learn more, visit www.anca.org.

3 Comments

  1. I wonder, how come “Mother Russia” – the owner of Armenia – and who sits in Armenia for free at the expense of poor Armenians – doesn’t give a crap about the welfare of Artsakh????

    Oh wait, perhaps being concerned about the welfare of Artsakh does not conform with its complicity in the 2016 Artsakh war where 100 Armenian servicemen lost their lives as a result of “Mother Russia” giving the OK for such an invasion right after supplying weapons to Armenia’s enemy. Everyone knows, in Apparatchik World, we all need to give thanks and praise to “Mother Russia” for supplying our enemies with deadly weapons to use against us.

    Right, Apparatchiks?

  2. This is definitely a step in the right direction.
    The notice was very short and the Senate was in recess. The ANCA made a huge effort.
    It is disappointing that all 22 senators who singed the letter are Democrats.
    Not a single Republican. What a shame and disgrace.
    The ANCA has to find a way to step up its efforts with Republicans in Congress. To be successful we need bipartisan support.
    Can we have a target list of Republican senators in States where ANCA rapid responders
    can have more influence.
    This is embarrassing for Armenian-Americans who lean Republican.
    Vart Adjemian

  3. Donald Trump is once again showing what a cruel person he really is by attempting to terminate U.S. assistance for the de-mining of Artsakh. The U.S. House of Representatives, earlier this year, had approved a measly $1.5 million package in assistance for Artsakh for the year, 2020, and Trump rejects it. On the other hand, America’s Zionist President, has absolutely no problem with $3.8 billion worth of American taxpayer money being shipped annually to Israel (in the form of military aid) to assist it in its campaign of committing horrifying atrocities against the Palestinian people (Palestinian Holocaust).

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