ANCA to Testify Before Congressional Foreign Aid Committee

* Will argue for increased support for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh–the defense of Section 907–and a halt to arms deals with Turkey.

WASHINGTON–In testimony to be delivered before a key Congressional committee this week–the Armenian National Committee of America will make the case for increased aid to Armenia–continued assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh–the defense of Section 907–and a halt to controversial US arms sales to the Turkish military.

The ANCA’s testimony will be presented on March 30 by ANCA Eastern United States board member Aram A. Sarafian during an appearance in the US Capitol before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. Sarafian–a Duke University Law School graduate practicing intellectual property law with the New York firm of Kenyon & Kenyon–is a captain in the US Army National Guard who has served with the Army in Belgium–the Netherlands–Germany–and–most recently–in Bosnia and Croatia.

The key points to be raised by the ANCA testimony–the full text of which is provided below–are as follows:

Preserving Section 907 Of the Freedom Support Act

"The reasons for the ban on US assistance to the government of Azerbaijan continue to exist as compellingly as ever. As a result–the ban itself continues to have strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress Last June–the full Senate defeated efforts to repeal Section 907–as did the House of Representatives in September of 1998."

Securing US aid to Armenia (at least $102.4 million)

"[W]e view the administration’s fiscal year 2001 proposed funding level for Armenia to be inadequate. The administration’s proposed 27% decrease in assistance to Armenia (from $102.4 million in FY 2000 to $74.8 million in FY 2001) is neither justified in terms of Armenia’s considerable internal progress on economic and political reform nor its constructive participation within the OSCE peace process. This proposed dramatic cut in aid to Armenia contrasts sharply with the Clinton Administration’s intention to increase by 77% those assistance programs for Azerbaijan allowed under Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act (from $30.7 million in FY 2000 to $54.5 million proposed for FY 2001)."

Providing increased direct US aid to Nagorno-Karabakh

"United States assistance programs for Nagorno-Karabakh represent an important confidence-building measure and a key element of the ongoing peace process. Further delays in their implementation or–even worse–the diversion of these funds away from the people of Nagorno-Karabakh–in addition to contravening the will of Congress–will prove to be counter-productive–both in terms of the peace process and long-term US regional interests."

Ensuring Congressional oversight of arms deals with Turkey

"[W]e call upon Congress to continue to exercise its oversight authority by carefully scrutinizing US military sales and transfers to Turkey. We recommend that special attention be given to any US military hardware–such as advanced attack helicopters or tanks – which may be used by the Turkish armed forces in Cyprus–against Kurdish civilians–or which may be transferred to Azerbaijan for use against Nagorno-Karabakh."

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