Priority Assistance Urgently Needed to Help Armenian Health Ministry Purchase Medical Supplies
WASHINGTON—The Armenian National Committee of America on Friday called on Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to immediately reprogram $25 million from the Congressional appropriated aid package for Armenia as part of an expanded U.S. assistance program to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic with urgently needed medical equipment and supplies, technical assistance, and support for at-risk families.
In a letter sent Friday to the State Department making this $25 million request, ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian shared thanks for the Administration’s initial $1.1 million emergency allocation and expressed the Armenian American community’s appreciation for all those at the Department of State and partner agencies who are striving selflessly to represent the United States, protect American citizens, support our allies, and help end this pandemic.
Hamparian noted that the European Union recently announced that it is reprogramming over 30 million Euros in existing funding to help Armenia bolster its COVID-19 efforts, and also making additional funds available for Armenia to acquire medical devices and equipment, support small and medium-sized businesses, and help ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches low-income families.
Senators James Risch, Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Shelby, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee and Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as representastives Eliot Engel, Chairman House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Nita Lowey, Chairwoman, House Appropriations Committee, Hal Rogers, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Committee and the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues were copied on the letter.
The text of the ANCA letter is provided below.
Dear Secretary Pompeo:
I am writing on behalf of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) to request that you reprogram at least $25 million in funds already appropriated by Congress to assist the Republic of Armenia effectively and efficiently respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ANCA appreciates the initial tranche of funds ($1.1 million) made available by the U.S. Department of State to Armenia in response to the pandemic following President Trump’s signing of H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act into law on March 27, 2020. In this regard, we also appreciate the remarks you delivered on March 26, 2020, when you stated that “our leadership in the COVID-19 response is another example of how America—our government, our businesses and organizations, and our people—continues to be the world’s greatest humanitarians. Between existing resources, supplemental funding, the private sector, and the generous spirit of the American people, the United States is leading – and will continue to lead – the effort to combat this dangerous pathogen and its threat to global health and security.”
Today, we urge the Department of State, in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other relevant agencies and departments– to immediately reprogram funding already appropriated for Armenia to assist the nation’s Ministry of Health, which is charged with battling the pandemic. Specifically, we encourage USAID to reprogram existing foreign aid funds to make them available to: a) allow Armenian officials to procure necessary medical equipment and supplies; b) bolster tracking efforts to rapidly bend the curve to level off COVID-19 cases among the general population, and; c) provide financial assistance to well respected non-profit organizations serving families in need across the Republic of Armenia, with a focus on seniors, the disabled, and children.
As you may know, several days ago the European Union announced that it is both reprogramming 33 million Euros in existing funding to help Armenia bolster its COVID-19 efforts, and also making an additional 18 million Euros available for Armenia to acquire medical devices and equipment, support small and medium-size business, and help ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches low-income families.
During the Centennial of United States – Armenia relations, President Donald Trump celebrated this enduring friendship by expressing his hope that “our partnership, that started 100 years ago, will further strengthen.” In this spirit, we call on you to direct the immediate reprogramming of at least $25 million in funds already appropriated by Congress to assist the Republic of Armenia to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you in advance for considering our request. Please do not hesitate to have Assistant Secretary Reeker or Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent contact us directly at (202) 775-1918 or [email protected] with any questions or feedback regarding the matters addressed in this correspondence.
Please share our thanks with all those at the Department of State and partner agencies for all they are doing, during these trying times, to represent our nation, protect our citizens, and help end this pandemic.
Raffi Haig Hamparian