August 1, 2018 - 11:33 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A bipartisan letter - spearheaded by the Armenian Caucus, backed by the bipartisan leaders of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees, and signed by 48 U.S. Representatives - was sent on Tuesday, July 31 calling on President Donald Trump to meet with Armenia's new Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as part of a larger effort to both broaden and deepen U.S.-Armenian dialogue and bilateral cooperation, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan said said earlier that the Armenian side is working to secure a bilateral meeting between Pashinyan and Trump in September.
"We want to thank the leaders of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues and all those who joined with them in signing this bipartisan appeal - notably the leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel, and also Chairman Devin Nunes and Ranking Member Adam Schiff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence," said Aram Hamparian, ANCA's Executive Director. "We join with our legislative friends in promoting high-level dialogue and concrete cooperation across a broad set of bilateral priorities, with a special focus on the growth of mutually-beneficial U.S.-Armenia economic relations."
The cosigners of the Congressional letter to the President include (in alphabetical order): Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Robert Brady (D-PA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Jim Costa (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Peter King (R-NY), James Langevin (D-RI), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ted Poe (R-TX), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Edward Royce (R-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Norma Torres (D-CA), David Trott (R-MI), and David Valadao (R-CA).
The ANCA's U.S.-Armenia economic policy priorities include 1) a $140 million MCC Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math grant for Armenia's public schools, 2) a modern Tax Treaty to eliminate double taxation and promote financial transparency, 3) a Social Security Agreement to protect benefits earned by people who divide their careers between the U.S. and Armenia, 4) non-stop commercial and cargo flights from Los Angeles to Yerevan, and 5) maximizing the effectiveness of the existing Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council and the U.S.-Armenia Economic Task Force.
The ANCA is also working with Armenian Caucus leadership and Congressional appropriators to expand FY2019 economic, military and refugee assistance to Armenia and demining, rehabilitation and peacekeeping assistance for Artsakh.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter to their Congressional colleagues, the Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Dave Trott (R-MI), and David Valadao (R-CA) and Vice-Chairs Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), wrote, “since being elected into office by Parliament, Prime Minister Pashinyan has committed himself to advancing Armenian issues both domestically and internationally and has stated his intent to deepen ties with the United States. Without question, a conversation between President Trump and Prime Minister Pashinyan emphasizing economic development, security and democracy is critical for a strong pivot towards a strategic partnership between our countries.”