July 10, 2020 - 12:02 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A key U.S. House panel has approved legislative report language indirectly calling for continued USAID funding for humanitarian demining in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), reports the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
"We certainly welcome this report recommendation as a step in the right direction," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "However, in light of this Administration's all-out attack on Artsakh demining, it's clear that Congress will need to do more in the underlying foreign aid bill to ensure continued U.S. support for a mine-free Artsakh."
Support for Artsakh demining was included in the House Appropriations Committee report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2021 Foreign Aid Bill, as follows: "The Committee recommends funding consistent with prior years for USAID's Humanitarian Demining program." The only USAID funded demining program currently in operation is in Artsakh, where The HALO Trust has successfully removed over 61,000 mines and cleared some 62,000 acres of land, ensuring a safer future for over 80% of Artsakh's population.
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who has visited Artsakh and met with representatives of The HALO Trust, was a strong proponent of the report language, along with his Armenian Caucus colleagues, including Co-Chairs Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and others.