Hovanessian Stresses Need for Equitable Starting Point for Peace Talks

WASHINGTON–Armenian Presidential Advisor Vahan Hovannesian reaffirmed the Armenian government’s commitment to an equitable and lasting settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during a three day visit to the nation’s capital where he met with House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.)–Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and other key Senators and Representatives–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

On the Senate side of the Capitol–Hovanessian met with Jack Reed (D-RI)–who visited the Republic of Armenia last year–and Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) a longtime advocate of Armenian-American issues. Hovanessian’s discussion with Sen. Sarbanes centered around the Maryland Senator’s efforts to defeat the Caspian oil lobby’s campaign to provide US tax dollars to the authoritarian Azeri regime of former KGB general Haydar Aliyev.

In the US House–Hovanessian focused his attention on members serving on the committee responsible for US foreign assistance policy–the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations.

He held lengthy meetings with the Subcommittee’s leadership– specifically Chairman Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.) and ranking Democrat Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). He also met with Subcommittee members Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.)–who crafted the fiscal year 1998 Nagorno-Karabakh assistance package–and John Edward Porter (R-Ill.)–who also serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.

During these meetings–Hovanessian voiced the appreciation of the Armenian people for the humanitarian and developmental support provided by the United States. He stressed–in particular–that US aid to Armenia and Karabakh serve as critical confidence building measures which help move the peace process forward.

During his June 7 through 10 visit to the nation’s capital–Hovanessian also held a detailed briefing for the Armenian-American community and met with key figures in the Washington foreign policy community.

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