From left, Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ), and Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny

Assembly Board Thanks Pallone for Armenia Aid Package Efforts

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WASHINGTON — On May 22, in a meeting with Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian and Executive Director Bryan Ardouny thanked the Congressman for spearheading a bipartisan letter requesting a $250 million aid package to Armenia and sanctions against Azerbaijan. They also discussed the unique position that Armenian NGOs have played, and continue to play, in providing much-needed assistance to the Armenian people in the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s genocidal campaign, which culminated last Fall with over 100,000 Armenians driven from the ancestral homeland, and seeking refuge in Armenia.

Reinforcing the bipartisan request, the Assembly in its testimony before a key House Committee, noted that the U.S. “is uniquely positioned to ensure that Armenia has the necessary tools and resources to protect its people and defend its borders,” and called and urged Congress and the Administration to “provide defensive weapons to further assist Armenia in protecting its sovereignty.”

The Assembly emphasized the importance of humanitarian assistance as a result of the “ensuing humanitarian crisis caused by Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing,” stating that “U.S. assistance can also play a role in preventing further genocide.” The Assembly specifically called for funds to be “made available to Armenian American private voluntary organizations” that have proven most cost effective.

With respect to the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh, the Assembly urged Congress to “help ensure that the fundamental right of return,” as well as the “fundamental principles of democracy, the right to self-determination, and the universal human rights of the people of Artsakh are upheld,” and for the U.S. to hold Azerbaijan “accountable for its gross human rights violations.”

Upholding the letter and spirit of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, the Assembly expressly endorsed H.R. 7288, the Armenian Protection Act of 2024, and urged its inclusion. The Assembly’s testimony also made clear that U.S. military or security assistance should not be provided to Azerbaijan.

The Assembly also urged the inclusion of language calling for the immediate release of all prisoners of war and captive civilians held by Azerbaijan, including Artsakh’s leaders who have been detained and subjected to “sham trials.”

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“The United States has taken a strong stand in support of democracy in Ukraine and should do the same for the Armenian people who also face existential threats,” the testimony concluded. “The Assembly’s position is clear: stand up for democracy and human rights; oppose genocide and hold Azerbaijan accountable by imposing sanctions.”

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