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Category Archives: Politics

White House Budget Proposes 67% Cut in Aid to Armenia

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released its budget recommendations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to Congress with substantial budget cuts to Armenia and the region.

Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Adam Schiff (D-CA) are currently circulating a Dear Colleague letter asking Members to join them in opposing cuts in aid to Armenia.

Under the Administration’s proposed budget, aid to Armenia would be reduced by 67%, dropping from $20.4 million in FY16 to $6.8 million proposed for FY18.

The Armenian Assembly of America issued an Action Alert urging the community to contact their Representative asking them to sign the letter and stop the drastic cut in critical aid to America’s ally Armenia.

The President’s budget envisions across the board cuts. Assistance to the South Caucasus region would be reduced by:

  • Azerbaijan: 90% cut
  • Armenia: 67% cut
  • Georgia: 58% cut

The President’s budget recommendation includes a 70% reduction in aid to Ukraine.

For details on the President’s budget proposal as it relates to Armenia, click here.

“As the current Administration reduces foreign aid across the board, we must ensure that Armenia has the resources to address the compelling humanitarian needs as a result of the current refugee crisis and Turkey’s blockade, as well as Azerbaijan’s ongoing and deadly ceasefire violations,” stated Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

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Nagorno Karabakh Representative Visits Florida International University

MIAMI, FL – On his first official visit to South Florida, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan gave a lecture at Florida International University (FIU) earlier this month. Students and professors of the FIU International Relations and Political Science Departments attended the event. Several FIU Armenian students were also on hand.

“It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Avetisyan in South Florida and welcome him to Florida International University (FIU) to discuss further development of Artsakh’s recognition and raising awareness of investment opportunities in Artsakh Republic,” stated FIU graduate student and FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan. “I believe that at FIU, and other universities across North America, it is essential to educate the public about Artsakh’s democratic progress and self-determination,” Shahbazyan said.

[READ: Florida Armenians Host Economic Roundtable Discussion on Nagorno Karabakh in Miami]

During the lecture, Mr. Avetisyan briefed guests on the history of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, the current situation in the settlement process, as well as regional developments.

FIU International Relations students with Mr. Avetisyan

At the end of the meeting, the Artsakh Representative answered numerous questions of the lecturers and students related to the peaceful settlement of the conflict, the international recognition of Artsakh, and the state-building process.

FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, Artsakh Representative Robert Avetisyan, FIU Professor Alex Barder, FLArmenians Founder Taniel Koushakjian beneath the Artsakh Republic flag.

During his time at FIU, Mr. Avetisyan visited the flags of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia, which are prominently displayed at the FIU Graham Center on campus.

[READ: Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh Flags Raised at Florida International University]

FIU Professor Misak Sargsian, Artsakh Representative Robert Avetisyan, FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, and FLArmenians Founder Taniel Koushakjian on the campus of FIU.

Samantha Power to Armenians: “I am very sorry”

By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Political Editor

Yesterday, Samantha Power became the first Obama administration official to apologize to Armenian Americans for not recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

“I am very sorry that, during our time in office, we in the Obama administration did not recognize the #Armenian Genocide,” Power posted on Twitter.

In a series a tweets on April 24th, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, Power also discussed “Turkish denial” and expressed empathy for the “slaughter that wd kill 1.5 m.”

Samantha Power served on President Obama’s National Security Council from 2009-2013, and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013-2017.

She is the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, which focused on the U.S. response to 20th century genocides, including Armenia in 1915.

While the emphatic expression may be welcome to some, many Armenian Americans share the feeling of betrayal by Power, and President Obama, given the multiple statements and meetings they held with community members during the 2008 campaign.

“This is more insulting 2 our ppl than 8yrs of ignoring our requests.U sacrificed ur own conscience on the altar of geopolitical correctness,” FLArmenians Editor Arsine Kaloustian replied on Twitter.

The Obama administration’s moral laryngitis on the Armenian Genocide was compounded in 2015, the centennial anniversary, when Power and Vice President Joe Biden attended the international commemoration at the Washington National Cathedral.

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 07: President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, and U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power attend the Armenian Genocide Centennial (NCAGC) Ecumenical Service at Washington National Cathedral on May 7, 2015 in Washington DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NCAGC)

Power’s re-acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide came moments after President Trump’s first statement on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day was released yesterday morning.

President Trump’s statement on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day echoed President Obama’s use of the phrase “Meds Yeghern,” and invoked language similar to President George W. Bush.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about President Trump’s omission of the word genocide during the daily press briefing. “The statement that was put out is consistent with the statements that have been put out for at least several of the past administrations,” Spicer said.