100th UAF Airlift Arrives in Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An aircraft carrying the United Armenia Fund’s 100th Airlift cargo–consisting of humanitarian equipment–landed at Yerevan’s Zvartnots Airport Saturday.

The C5-B Galaxy plane (the biggest military freight aircraft in the United States) provided by the US Air Force–brought $8 million worth of medicine and medical equipment–which due to UAF efforts–were donated by MAP International–AmeriCres–World Vision–Brother’s Brother Foundation and 30 other organizations.

UAF Executive Director Harout Sassounian said that the cargo will be handed over to the Ministry of Health of Armenia–which will distribute it among hospitals; medicine will be distributed among patients free of charge.

UAF’s airlift was accompanied by a delegation of some 40 representatives from various entities–including Armenian community of the United States–American relief organizations–newspaper reporters–State Department officials as well as Kim Tomsen–wife of US Ambassador to Armenia.

At Zvartnots Airport the delegation was met by Prime Minister Armen Darbinian–Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian–Health Minister Gagik Stamboltsian–Minister for Culture–Youth Affairs and Sports Roland Sharoyan–Deputy Mayor of Yerevan Kamo Areyan as well as US Ambassador to Armenia Peter Tomsen.

The delegation visited The Holy See of Etchmiadzin Sunday–participating in a liturgy offered at the Etchmiadzin Cathedral by the Fr. Hovsep Alexanian. During the liturgy–Archbishop Nerses Pozapalian greeted the delegation on behalf of Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s.

Later in a meeting with the delegation–National Assembly speaker Khosrov Harutiunian said–"The eight-year contribution of the United Armenian Fund takes a considerable place in the process of settling the socio-economic situation in Armenia."

According to Harutiunian–the program is also important because it is supported by the entire Diaspora with its main organizations and the jubilee airlift can be regarded as a phase of cooperation after which one must think of developing and expanding the program.

Sassounian told a news conference Monday that medicine is supplied to Armenia only with the approval by Armenian medical experts regarding the safe use of these drugs.

Talking to reporters at the National Press Club–Sassounian pointed out that drugs are supplied to Armenia free of charge and the UAF will take appropriate measures if their distribution is made improperly. He acknowledged that there were cases of abuse during the previous airlifts; but they cooperated with the Armenian authorities to prevent them–even by dismissing some of the personnel involved.

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