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Armenian American Community Bids Farewell to Armenian Ambassador to the U.S.

Ambassador Varuzhan Nersesyan gives his farewell address at the Armenian Embassy, Washington, DC. July 19, 2021.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian Embassy in Washington, DC hosted a farewell reception on Monday, July 19, for Ambassador Varuzhan Nersesyan and his family, upon the completion of his tenure as the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United States of America. Ambassador Varuzhan Nersesyan has been reassigned as Ambassador to Great Britain, effective August 1.

FLArmenians.com Editor Taniel Koushakjian and Amb. Nersesyan

Participants wishing Ambassador Nersesyan farewell included officials from U.S. State Department, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Armenian Caucus Vice-Chair Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy of Armenia to the U.S. Ara Margarian, Los Angeles Consul General Ambassador Dr. Armen Baibourtian, Armenia’s Honorary Consul in Fresno Berj Apkarian, Armenia’s Honorary Consul in Chicago Oscar Tatosian, Nagorno Karabakh representative to the United States Robert Avetisyan, former U.S. Secretary of Navy Paul Ignatius, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John M. Evans, Middlesex County (Massachusetts) Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, current and former State Department staff, Archbishop of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of American (Eastern) Bishop Daniel Findikyan, and Armenian American community leaders from the greater Washington, DC metro area.

Bishop Daniel Findikyan speaking at Ambassador Nersesyan’s Farewell.

Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan opened the program, followed by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs of State Department John Armstrong, Rep. Speier, and Ambassador Nersesyan.

Bishop Findikyan spoke of the personal friendship that emerged between Ambassador Nersesyan, Bishop Daniel, and Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian during their weekly conference calls. “The Ambassador initiated these weekly meetings when he first took up his role in the U.S., during which we would update one another on current events in Armenia and in our communities. It’s been a great privilege to cultivate such a close relationship.” He blessed the Nersesyan family as the Ambassador moves on to a new mission in service to our homeland.

Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan, Bishop Daniel Findikyan, and Taniel Koushakjian

In his remarks Ambassador Nersesyan reflected about his mission in the USA in his capacity as an Ambassador of Armenia, highlighting some landmark achievements including: Armenian Genocide recognition; a new elevated format of Armenia-US bilateral relations and strategic dialogue; cultural diplomacy through Armenian Odyssey, and the upcoming exhibition on Artsakh at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. He also emphasized challenges caused by COVID-19 and Azeri-Turkish aggression against Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh during the past year.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Taniel Koushakjian

“The Armenian American community is grateful to the service and many contributions that ambassador Nersessian spearheaded and implemented during his brief but successful tenure as Armenia’s ambassador to the United States. We congratulate him on his accomplishments and wish him and his family the best in their next assignment.” stated FLArmenians.com Editor Taniel Koushakjian.

Rep. David Valadao Named Armenian Caucus Co-Chair for 117th Congress

Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) and Taniel Koushakjian at the National Press Club, Washington, DC

WASHINGTON DC – On January 26, 2021, Congressman David G. Valadao was named a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.

“Armenia is a nation so many of my constituents know and love,” said Congressman Valadao. “During my time in Congress, I introduced several resolutions formally recognizing the Ottoman Empire’s deportation and extermination of over two million Armenian people and, after years of Armenian-American advocacy for this cause, the House and the Senate finally passed H.Res.296, Affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide. However, my fight on behalf of my Armenian-American constituents must continue. Armenians living in Nagorno Karabakh recently faced attacks from Azerbaijani forces in violation of their decade-old ceasefire agreement. This kind of aggression is unacceptable and must end immediately. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress on this issue and other issues of importance to the Armenian-American community as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. We must continue to advocate for the Armenian people and encourage the new Administration to maintain and strengthen relationships between the United States, Armenia, and Artsakh [Nagorno Karabakh].”

“The Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues has always operated in a bipartisan fashion, and I know our current co-chairs will continue this tradition,” stated Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). “I’m confident we will work together to ensure the United States strengthens its relationship with Armenia and supports its young, democratically elected government that was shaken by last year’s devastating aggressions by Azeri and Turkish forces in the region. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Caucus to ensure the incoming Secretaries of State and Defense are focused on reassessing our strategic relationships in the Caucasus region, upholding the principle of human rights, and holding bad actors like Turkish President Erdogan accountable.”

“We’re very pleased to welcome Congressman Valadao back to Congress and even more excited that he is rejoining the leadership of the Congressional Armenian Caucus. His deep knowledge of the history of the Armenian people and of the current challenges the young Republics of Armenia and Artsakh face will do well in representing his Armenian American constituents and the broader community in the years ahead,” stated FLArmenians.com Editor Taniel Koushakjian.

Congressman Valadao joins Armenian Caucus co-chairs Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Vice-Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

City of Miami, Boynton Beach Recognize Artsakh

MIAMI, FL – Earlier this month, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other mayors from across the United States in signing a bi-partisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the U.S. to recognize the free and democratic Republic of Artsakh (formerly Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), and to condemn Azerbaijan military attacks on Artsakh and Armenia.

“As proud representatives of Armenian American communities across our country, we share their deep concerns about the violence being inflicted upon Artsakh, the growing number of civilian casualties, and the involvement of regional actors like Turkey and Iran,” the October 9, 2020 letter states. The mayors raised the “credible reports of Turkey paying Syrian mercenaries to fight in Artsakh as well as American-made F-16s sold to Turkey flying in Armenian airspace,” with the Secretary.

The letter also calls on the Secretary of State to “publicly support H.Res.1165, a bipartisan resolution introduced by Reps. Jackie Speier, Adam Schiff, and the Congressional Armenian Caucus that condemns Azerbaijan’s attack on Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and denounces Turkey’s participation and escalation of this offensive.”

The letter is significant for three reasons. 1) The letter clearly refers to Nagorno-Karabakh by its proper Armenian name, Artsakh, on two occasions, hence the signatories recognize the Armenian state’s existence which Azerbaijan denies. 2) The signatories to the letter condemn Azerbaijan for launching another war in the South Caucasus and denounce Turkey’s role in the latest provocation, an important step as some try to draw a false equivalency between Azerbaijan (the attacker) and Armenia. 3) The mayors also acknowledge the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide, the first time that a Miami mayor has ever done so. Boynton Beach first acknowledged the Armenian Genocide back in 2017.

“It was wonderful to work with Armenian American community leaders in South Florida and across the country over the last few weeks to help bring local governments forward to stand with the people of Artsakh and Armenia as they defend their ancestral homeland from Azerbaijani and Turkish terrorism,” stated FLArmenians.com Editor Taniel Koushakjian. “Thank you Mayor Suarez and Mayor Grant for your local leadership here in South Florida,” Koushakjian said.

A copy of the letter is below.