Assembly Interns Discuss US Foreign Policy, Funding with Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone

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WASHINGTON — Last week, as part of the Armenian Assembly of America’s Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program, the 2012 intern class met with Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ).

In providing an overview of US policy in the South Caucasus region, Pallone shared his concern regarding the recent ceasefire violations on the Armenian- Azerbaijani border and expressed his disappointment that the State Department did not do more publicly to condemn Azerbaijan’s latest assault.

Pallone also discussed the Nagorno Karabagh peace process, noting that such acts of aggression by Azerbaijan did not help facilitate a peaceful settlement but rather served to undermine the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

Turning to current legislative items, in addition to the Armenian Genocide resolution, Pallone also discussed his ongoing concerns with H.R. 2362, the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Act.

The bill aims to give Turkey preferential access to tribal lands and give Turkish enterprises an unfair advantage here in the United States. “While there is no disagree- ment that the United States government should seek measures to invigorate the economy and pro- mote economic development in Indian Country, providing monopoly access to Turkey only gives them a pass on their actions which run counter to US interests,” stated Pallone.

Pallone encouraged those present to continue to remain involved in the Assembly’s advocacy efforts and also to help educate others on the issues facing Armenia and Karabagh.

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“The Armenian Caucus plays an important role in helping to strengthen the US-Armenia relationship,” stated Alissa Tabirian, a Russian and East European Studies major at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. “The meeting was insightful and we appreciated the fact that the Congressman not only addressed current issues, but also helped us to better understand the actions that we must take in order to aid future progress in Armenia,” added Tabirian.

The Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program was created by the Memorial Fund established by Aram Terjenian, Annie Thomas and Florence Terjenian of Belmont, Mass. Additional support comes from the Richard Tufenkian Memorial Fund, the John Hanessian Scholarship Fund, the Armen Astarjian Scholarship Fund, the Ohanian Memorial Fund, James and Connie Melikian and the Knights of Vartan.

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