ANCA Applauds Overwhelming Bipartisan Backing for Royce-Engel Peace Proposal Promotes Accountability along the Artsakh Line-of-Contact
WASHINGTON—The U.S. House overwhelmingly adopted the Chu Amendment endorsing the bipartisan Royce-Engel peace proposal for Artsakh, a three-part, ANCA-backed plan to deploy gunfire locators, add observers, and withdraw snipers, heavy arms, and new weaponry from the Artsakh line-of-contact, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
“The campaign of terror against the people of Artsakh must end,” Rep. Chu told the ANCA following House passage of her measure. “That’s why I introduced my amendment to support the cease-fire strengthening proposals originally put forward by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel and his predecessor, Ed Royce. The Royce-Engel proposals include gunfire locators, new observers, and a ban on snipers, heavy arms, and new weaponry along the line-of-contact. Adopting them is necessary for ensuring those who violate the peace are caught and stopped, and that is what my amendment encourages. I am pleased it was adopted in the NDAA and hope to see these proposals implemented,” concluded Rep. Chu.
“We welcome today’s historic U.S. House vote for peace,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “We want to thank Congresswoman Judy Chu for her relentless advocacy, Chairman McGovern for his thoughtful and principled leadership of the Rules Committee, Representatives Pallone and Schiff for serving as amendment cosponsors, and – of course – each and every one of the legislators who cast common sense votes for a stronger cease-fire and the promise of a durable and democratic peace between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.”
Joining Rep. Chu as cosponsors of her amendment were Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). The amendment, #97, was adopted by the full House by a voice vote on Wednesday evening, as part of an “en bloc” series of amendments. ANCA summer fellows were on Capitol Hill throughout the day advocating in support of passage of the measure.
Since her first election to the U.S. House a decade ago, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) has enjoyed a strong relationship with the ANCA chapters in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley.
The text of the Chu Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 reads as follows:
It is the sense of Congress that United States interests in the stability of the Caucasus region and the continuation of the Nagorno Karabakh cease-fire will be advanced by an agreement among regional stakeholders on:
1. The non-deployment of snipers, heavy arms, and new weaponry along the line-of-contact;
2. The deployment of gun-fire locator systems on the line-of-contact; and
3. An increase in the number of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe observers along the line-of-contact.
The Royce-Engel initiative, first proposed in Fall of 2015, received the support of over 100 U.S. House members through a series of Congressional calls to the U.S. Administration and the OSCE to take concrete action to ensure Artsakh peace as Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group-mediated negotiations continue. The ANCA has launched multiple nationwide grassroots campaigns in support of the initiative, which has gotten support from the U.S. State Department and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, in addition to the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia. Azerbaijan remains the only obstacle to their practical implementation.