BREA, Calif.—The Armenian National Committee of America held a productive and positive meeting with the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), on a wide variety of topics, including efforts to bring peace and freedom to the independent Nagorno Karabakh Republic (Artsakh).
The meeting was held at the Chairman’s district office in Brea, California on August 17, 2016 and included the participation of national, regional and local ANCA officials. The ANCA has had a long and constructive relationship with Chairman Royce based on the outstanding work of the ANCA of Orange County and accompanied the Chairman during his 2014 Congressional Delegation visit to the Republic of Armenia.
“Armenian Americans living in California’s 39th Congressional District are fortunate to have a senior Member of Congress like Ed Royce, ANCA Orange County leader Garo Madenlian, Esq., House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), ANCA Western Region Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. and ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian who chairs the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, representing them in Washington, DC,” expressed ANCA Western Region Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. after meeting with Chairman Royce.
“Chairman Royce is unique because of his total command and understanding of issues ranging from Artsakh to the Armenian Genocide. We look forward to continuing our work with Chairman Royce to secure peace and freedom for Artsakh and to secure justice with respect to the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA is especially eager to work with Chairman Royce in the coming days to secure implementation of the Royce-Engel initiative,” Hovsepian added.
The meeting with Chairman Royce focused on the pressing need to make sustained progress on the Royce-Engel initiative launched last year by the Chairman and the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY). The Royce-Engel initiative, which is strongly backed by the ANCA, includes three common-sense measures to secure Artsakh peace.
1. An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers, heavy arms, or new weaponry along the line of contact.
2. The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.
3. The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations. Armenia and Artsakh have long agreed to all three measures; Azerbaijan opposes their implementation. The Royce-Engel proposals, have received the support of more than 90 members of Congress through two Congressional letters sent to the Obama Administration in November of 2015 and March of 2016.
ANCA leaders also highlighted the reckless nature of the “Madrid Principles,” which are being discussed in the context of a final settlement for Artsakh. Originally discussed in 2007 with the specifics largely kept secret until recently, the “Madrid Principles” set forth a proposed formula which purportedly calls for Artsakh’s up-front surrender of 7 regions of its sovereign territory in return for only a vague promise that Azerbaijan will allow a future “expression of will” that would determine its status, setting the stage for continued conflict and increased regional instability. The ANCA shared with Chairman Royce that the organization considers the “Madrid Principles” to be reckless, irresponsible and – as noted by many Members of Congress – not a sound recipe for peace.
Next month, ANCA leaders will join Chairman Royce at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) national advocacy convention in Washington, DC. The IDC convention, which is being sponsored by the ANCA, is seeking to safeguard health and welfare of the remaining Christians in the Middle East. During the 114th Congress, Chairman Royce was a powerful force in advancing legislation that led the Obama Administration to label the crimes against humanity occurring today against Christians, including Armenians, and other minorities in the Middle East – as Genocide.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.