Today, Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs requesting an enhanced U.S. commitment towards democracy-building and trade relations with the Republic of Armenia, as well as promoting peace for the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), by way of the Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bill, Armenian Assembly of America reports.
In his testimony, Rep. Pallone highlighted the life-saving work of The HALO Trust’s vital landmine and unexploded ordnance clearance efforts in Artsakh, and asked for $1.5 million for de-mining and landmine risk education programs in Artsakh to protect civilian lives and continue the critical work of this program in the region.
With respect to improvement in democratic governance in Armenia, Rep. Pallone drew attention to the steps taken by the Armenian government to bolster civil society and democratic institutions by stating, “The United States Congress can aid this process by ensuring we give targeted assistance during the country’s continued democratic transition.”
He asked that the Subcommittee appropriate $100 million for economic, governance, rule of law, and security assistance to Armenia.
Additionally, he stressed the troubling disparity between U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan and Armenia, and suggested that the United States suspend military aid to Azerbaijan until its government ceases attacks against Armenia and Artsakh and agrees to a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict. Over the last two years, Azerbaijan is reported to have received $100 million directly from the U.S. Defense Department.