ANCA outlines 2018 advocacy priorities
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) shared its 2018 Armenian American policy priorities in an in-depth video presentation featuring “asks” of the U.S. government regarding a secure Artsakh Republic, a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, and stronger U.S.-Armenia economic, political and military ties.
In a 50-minute presentation broadcast live on the ANCA’s Facebook page (81K+ Likes) and now available on a broad array of social media platforms, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian opened with a call-to-action urging friends of Armenia to send letters to their U.S. legislators by visiting anca.org/2018, and then walked viewers through each aspect of the Armenian American advocacy agenda.
“Coming off a political transition year, and heading into a hotly contested election season, we are well positioned to make progress in each of our priority policy areas,” said Hamparian. “Our team in Washington, our regional offices, local chapters, grassroots advocates, and coalition partners look forward to engaging with elected officials – at every level of government – to advance our shared concerns and realize our common aspirations for Artsakh and Armenia.
Included in the 2018 ANCA policy “asks” are:
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 cease-fire. 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 upon Azerbaijan to stop obstructing the implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals for Artsakh, life-saving, common sense cease-fire strengthening measures that have been endorsed by the State Department, the 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 cease-fire 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 completion of HALO Trust’s de-mining 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 24th 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:
— H.Res.220, a U.S. House genocide prevention measure drawing upon the lessons of the Armenian Genocide.
— S.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.
US – 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 but 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 non-stop 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 non-proliferation – seriously reevaluate 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.