WASHINGTON, DC – Members of Congress discussed avenues for increased U.S.-Armenian cooperation with a visiting Armenian Parliament delegation earlier today during a briefing hosted by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We would like to thank the Armenian Caucus for providing the opportunity for this productive exchange of views between Members of Congress and their colleagues in the Armenian Parliament,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The growing dialogue between U.S. and Armenian legislators represents a critical channel for increased cooperation between the United States and Armenia on a variety of issues, ranging from economic development and investment to the Nagorno Karabagh peace process.”
Congressman Pallone, who co-chairs the Armenian Caucus, briefed the group about the work of the Caucus and noted his efforts to encourage the U.S. Commerce Department to organize an official trade mission to Armenia. Congressman Knollenberg, who serves on the committee responsible for foreign assistance, discussed his work to reverse cuts in aid to Armenia being proposed by the White House. Congressman Rogan noted to the group that, as the Congressman from Glendale, California, he represents the largest concentration of Armenians living outside of Armenia. He discussed his trip to Armenia last year and his work in Congress to secure official U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The offices of a number of additional Armenian Caucus members were also represented, including Co-Chairman John Porter (R-IL); Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Phil English (R-PA), and both Armenian American members of Congress – Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and John Sweeney (R-NY). With the addition this week of Congressmen William Lipinski (D-IL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) the Armenian Caucus has expanded to ninety-three members.
The Armenian delegation, composed of chairmen of Parliamentary committees, included: Vahan Hovhannesian, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense, National Security, and Interior; Davit Lokyan, Chairman of the Temporary Committee on Energy Issues; Victor Dallakyan, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on State and Legal Issues; Vardan Khachatryan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance, Budget, and Economy; Gagik Tadevosan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Health, Social Security, and Environment, and; Shavarsh Kocharyan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, and Youth Affairs.
The Armenian delegation was invited to the U.S. through the State Department’s International Visitor Program for a three week series of meetings on the U.S. legislative process, public/private cooperation, taxation and banking, foreign policy, education, health care, and a range of other public policy issues. In addition to Washington, DC, their schedule includes visits to Los Angeles, Denver, and New York.