Artsakh Parliamentarian Briefs US Legislators on Azerbaijani Aggression

Lernik Hovhannisyan (left) with Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Robert Dold.

WASHINGTON—Nagorno Karabakh Republic parliamentarian, Lernik Hovhannisyan, briefed Members of Congress and their senior aides regarding Azerbaijan’s recent escalation of violence against Artsakh and Armenia, during a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill.

In June 7th meetings with Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Robert Dold (R-IL), shared information and insights about the Azerbaijan’s April 2nd offensive, and the dangers that Baku’s belligerence represents to the security of Nagorno Karabakh and the stability of the region. Among the specific issues discussed during his consultations were:

— The implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals
— The dangers of continued U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan
— The value of Leahy Law investigations of Baku’s war crimes during the April 2nd offensive
— The importance of U.S. aid programs for Nagorno Karabakh

Hovhannisyan also held detailed consultations on these subjects with senior foreign policy aides to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), who serves on the Appropriations Committee; Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ); Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who serves on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees; Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who chairs the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who serves as Ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, and; Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Hovhannisyan was joined by the ANCA-Eastern Region’s Armen Sahakyan and Raffi Karakashian, the ANCA’s Legislative Affairs Director.

Hovhannisyan traveled to Washington, DC as part of an educational tour of Eastern U.S. cities organized by the Artsakh Fund of the Eastern U.S. and the Hairenik Association to share timely information with American stakeholders regarding regional developments. He was born in the Karintak village in Shoushi in 1973. After studying at the local secondary school, he continued his studies at the Khrimian Hayrik School and graduated from the Yerevan State University’s History Department in 1996. He served in the 52nd battalion of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defense Army. In 2000, he completed his postgraduate studies at the Artsakh State University, and worked at the university’s Department of History as senior lecturer on Ethnography and Armenian History from 1999 to 2003. In 2013, Hovhannisyan was appointed Nagorno Karabakh’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs and was elected to the Parliament in 2015 as a member of the parliamentary faction of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). Since being elected, he has served as deputy chair of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defense, National Security, and Law Enforcement. Lernik Hovhannisyan, the author of 10 scientific papers and illustrator of 8 maps, currently runs Artsakh Public Television’s “Mer Yerkir” series. He is married and has 3 children.

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