Washington, D.C. – Today, the Armenian Assembly of America welcomed a letter spearheaded by Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in support of U.S. assistance to Artsakh.
The letter addressed to the Senate Appropriations Committee was cosigned by 30 Senators, including Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Kristen Gilibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Margaret Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
“We commend Senator Menendez for spearheading this important initiative and very much appreciate the strong support from the 30 senators who also joined in this effort,” stated Armenian Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. “This funding will help continue a multi-year program that has already proven successful in safely removing a large percentage of mines in Artsakh, and will improve public safety for the civilian population that run the risk daily of being maimed or killed,” Khaloyan added.
Specifically, the letter calls for “not less than $1.5 million” in the Fiscal Year 2021 Senate, State Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill be made available to “fund demining and landmine risk education programs in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
In addition, the letter calls for “robust funding for Nagorno-Karabakh-based regional rehabilitation services for survivors of landmine injuries and individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities” as well as “an independent assessment of remaining contamination from mines and unexploded ordnance in Nagorno-Karabakh and the risk that contamination poses to civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“We are thrilled to see this overwhelming display of support for our demining program in Nagorno Karabakh, and are grateful to Senator Menendez and the many Senators who consistently fight to ensure that HALO’s life-saving work can continue. Given our recent efforts to support the local population of Karabakh in the fight against COVID-19, in addition to our work addressing the threat of landmines, HALO’s presence in the region has never been more important,” said Chris Whatley, Executive Director, HALO USA.