By Aram Arkun
WASHINGTON — Upon the initiative of the representation of Artsakh in the United States, the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) organized a reception and banquet for the Armenian community on March 17 at the University Club in Washington D. C. to honor the visiting delegation of the Republic of Artsakh led by President Bako Sahakyan.
The bilingual event was moderated by Annie Simonian Totah, board member of the Armenian Assembly, and Aram Hamparian, executive director of the ANCA. Ambassador Grigor Hovhannisian of the Republic of Armenia to the United States welcomed the guests, after which Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director for the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), gave the opening prayer.
Totah expressed her happiness that the two Armenian lobbying organizations of the United States have joined together to organize this event, and said that the more Armenians worked together, the more success they would find while presenting Armenian issues in Congress and the White House. She presented a brief history of the humanitarian aid to Artsakh that the Armenian Assembly helped to initiate and pointed out that the ANCA and the Assembly work with Congress to try to increase travel and communication with Artsakh, an OSCE-monitored system to try to stop the gunfire and other violations of the truce with Azerbaijan. Totah concluded that the next challenge for the Armenian lobbies would be to have President Sahakyan invited again to the US, this time officially by the White House.
Totah invited Hamparian to speak. Hamparian thanked Sahakyan for making his work in Washington easy. He said, “Artsakh is on the right side of the defining issues that matter here in Washington DC, on questions of peace, on questions of dialogue and on questions of democracy…” Artsakh wants accountability on questions of peace and truce violations, open communication and dialogue. Hamparian said that Artsakh is an American story: it is the victory of a free people over foreign rule.