April 16, 2014 - 10:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - U.S. Congressman Ed Royce will use the better part of Congress’ two-week recess to lead a small delegation of members to some of the most unstable regions of Ukraine, as well as to Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Orange County Register reported.
The Fullerton Republican, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says the group will meet with top government, business and civic officials to further examine issues related to Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s eastern border, global energy and Iran.
Royce’s delegation will be the first to visit eastern Ukraine. Members will meet with all major presidential candidates and the nonprofits that will assist in the May 25 Ukraine elections. Another key focus will be efforts to diversify Ukraine’s energy supply.
In Armenia, the delegation will participate in the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day Event. Royce long has championed the recognition of the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, believing its denial by Turkey impedes reconciliation between the two neighboring countries.
“Armenia is a country struggling to build democracy and prosperity in a rough neighborhood. This was the first genocide of the past century and must be remembered. The U.S. has strong energy and regional security interests in Azerbaijan,” Royce told the OC Register in an email.
The Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian welcomed Royce’s delegation trip to Armenia calling it “an excellent opportunity for Members of Congress to see, first hand, the prospects and challenges facing the landlocked and blockaded country and explore ways to build a stronger U.S. – Armenia relationship.”
“Their visit on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is a testament to the Chairman’s commitment to truth and a clarion call for justice for this crime,” Hamparian added, according to Asbarez.
The delegation will also study regional security issues in Azerbaijan, a major energy producer that borders Iran.