Schiff Introduces Bill Urging End to Turkish Blockade of Armenia

Chairman Hyde agrees to mark-up bill in committee

WASHINGTON–DC–Late yesterday–Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced a bill urging the President and Secretary of State to call on Turkey to immediately lift its ongoing blockade of Armenia. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) was an original co-sponsor of the bill.

This bill also requires a report from the Secretary of State within 30 days of final passage that will outline steps taken by the US to end Turkey’s blockade of Armenia. The State Department has estimated that the blockade is inflating Armenia’s transportation costs by 30-35%. The blockade also prevents the US and international humanitarian assistance from crossing its borders–which is a violation of US law and international humanitarian standards.

House International Relations Committee Chairman–Henry Hyde (R-IL)–has agreed to a subcommittee mark-up on Schiff’s bill in July and a full committee mark-up shortly after the August recess. A mark-up is the final obstacle a bill must overcome before a vote by the full House of Representatives is possible.

"It is time to step-up pressure on Turkey to lift the draconian blockade of Armenia–allowing desperately needed humanitarian assistance into the country–and permitting Armenian businesses to compete fully in the global economy. I am grateful for Chairman Hyde’s commitment to a timely hearing on my bill," said Schiff.

"President Bush and the Secretary of State can no longer stand by and allow Turkey to blockade Armenia without voicing any opposition or concern," said Congressman Frank Pallone. "The time is long overdue for Congress to send the Bush administration a strong message that it’s time to terminate this blockade so Armenia can realize its full economic potential."

"The Armenian National Committee of America welcomes Congressman Schiff’s legislation–requiring a State Department report on any steps it has taken–and any actions it plans to take in the future–to bring an end to Turkey’s illegal blockade of Armenia," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. "We look forward to helping Congressmen Schiff–Pallone–and other sponsors of this measure to work toward final passage in the House of Representatives."

Congressman Schiff is the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security and a member of both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees. He represents California’s 29th Congressional District–which includes the communities of Alhambra–Altadena–Burbank–East Pasadena–East San Gabriel–Glendale–Monterey Park–Pasadena–San Gabriel–South Pasadena–and Temple City.

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