Pallone Concerned About Lack of Karabakh Assistance

Rep. Frank Pallone

WASHINGTON—Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Monday wrote House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers and Kay Granger, Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to express his concerns of reports that the Subcommittee has broken precedent by failing to provide funding for humanitarian and development assistance in Nagorno Karabakh. In past years, funding for Nagorno Karabakh had broad bi-partisan support. Pallone expressed concerns about the repercussions this lack of funding would have in the region.

“Since 1998 USAID and other agencies have been providing funds for humanitarian and other assistance programs in Nagorno Karabakh as a result of the Appropriations Committee’s work.  The decision to provide no funds to Nagorno Karabakh in Fiscal Year 2012 is a break with the practice of the Appropriations Committee, under both Democratic and Republican control,” Pallone wrote in the letter.

The full text of the letter appears below.
August 1, 2011
 
Dear Chairman Rogers and Chairwoman Granger:

I am writing with concern over recent reports that the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee has reported out a bill that does not include funds for the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.  I am asking that as this bill moves to the full Appropriations Committee that language be included to provide for humanitarian and development assistance in Nagorno Karabakh.

Since 1998 USAID and other agencies have been providing funds for humanitarian and other assistance programs in Nagorno Karabakh as a result of the Appropriations Committee’s work.  The decision to provide no funds to Nagorno Karabakh in Fiscal Year 2012 is a break with the practice of the Appropriations Committee, under both Democratic and Republican control.

On May 20, 2011 twenty-eight members of Congress, along with myself, on a bi-partisan basis wrote to Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Lowey requesting that $10 million be included for humanitarian and development programs in Nagorno Karabakh.  We pointed out that while there has been strong Congressional support for providing funds to Nagnorno Karabakh, the State Department has failed to come close to expending the funds intended to reach the people of Nagorno Karabakh.  This has left major gaps in our ability to provide humanitarian assistance and has put at risk the protection of the Nagorno Karabakh people who live under constant threat of attack from Azerbaijan.

There is no question that Nagorno Karabakh is an example of how democracy can be born from conflict and progress into a popularly supported government.  The United States’ role in helping to facilitate this process cannot be overstated.  I believe that it is more important than ever that the United States maintain a principled stand for peace in this region and support Nagorno Karabakh. 

Sincerely,
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress

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2 Comments

  1. David Boyajian said:

    We also need a sincere effort now by our friends in Congress to recognize the independence of Artsakh and to set the record straight on what Azerbaijan did to start the conflict over the past many decades.

    The blame for the conflict must be placed squarely and publicly where it belongs: on Azerbaijan.

    This could be done by a Congressional resolution, but it has to start somewhere.

    Clearly, Armenian government leaders are not up to the task, perhaps because Russia is ordering them to lay off Azerbaijan so that Russia can strike energy deals at Armenians’ expense. Where, by the way, is the Russian condemnation of Azeri sabre-rattling?

    It won’t be easy, but the effort must be made. Azerbaijan has gained the upper-hand in terms of public-relations, portraying itself quite well as the victim. Azerbaijan is winning the war of public and diplomatic opinion. Armenians are being portrayed as illegal occupiers, and that image has taken hold. This has to change.

    • bigmoustache said:

      agreed, karapagh recognition should be our top priority…the fact that the truth has been silenced for this long is a travesty…on top of the armenian genocide recognition!
      they have to give us SOMETHING and right now it should be karapagh recognition

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