Leaders of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) gathered with friends and supporters to honor U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) – an advocate for Armenian-American concerns since decades, who led the historic 2019 battle to win unanimous U.S. Senate recognition of the Armenian Genocide and continues his unwavering support for Armenia’s security and Artsakh’s freedom. President Menendez has had close ties to the New Jersey ANC for decades and regularly receives an “A+” grade on the ANCA Congressional Report Card.
“Senator Menendez’s bold leadership and principled defense of human rights and American values have been a hallmark of his service to the House and Senate,” said ANCA President Raffi Hamparian. “The ANCA has been with him every step of the way and looks forward to our continued work together.”
Mr. Garo Mardirossian, Esq. and his wife Yulia generously hosted the evening, which included special guest His Eminence Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Itinerant Pontifical Envoy of Saint Etchmiadzin and former Primate of Artsakh. Hamparian was joined by ANCA national board members Zanku Armenian, Aida Dimejian and Ani Tchaghlasian, who traveled from the senator’s New Jersey state to offer a Garden State Armenian welcome to President Menendez.
“I was honored to welcome President Menendez to my home with a broad and distinguished cross section of Armenian Americans,” Garo Mardirossian shared. “I am proud to stand with President Menendez – who is firmly committed to working to strengthen US-Armenian relations, defend Artsakh’s freedom and secure justice for the Armenian Genocide,” Mardirossian said. “With the new challenges facing the United States and our Armenian homeland, the visionary leadership of Chairman Menendez of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is needed more than ever to ensure that peace and justice prevail for Armenia and Artsakh.”
“Armenian Americans in the Garden State and across the United States support Senator Menendez in our collective quest for justice for the Armenian Genocide, self-determination for Artsakh, and stronger American-Armenian ties,” said Ani. Tchaghlasian, member of the National Board of the ANCA. “From his unwavering determination to end U.S. complicity in Armenian Genocide denial to the continued efforts to halt U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan and block the sale of U.S. aircraft to autocratic Turkey Erdogan, Senator Menendez has been a champion of human rights and peace. We look forward to working together for years to advance Armenian-American priorities and values. »
Senator Menendez’s dogged determination to end the US Senate’s complicity in Armenian Genocide denial in Turkey resulted in the unanimous passage of the bipartisan resolution he authored in December 2019. The Armenian Genocide Resolution ( S.Res.150) established, as U.S. policy, 1) rejection of Armenian Genocide denial, 2) official recognition and remembrance of this crime by the U.S. government, and 3) support for education on the Armenian Genocide to help prevent modern atrocities.
Senator Menendez was equally adamant about enforcing Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, originally passed as part of the Freedom Support Act in 1992 in response to the blockade and Azerbaijan attacks on Armenia and Artsakh. In June 2020, alarmed by the skyrocketing U.S. military assistance program to Azerbaijan, Senator Menendez asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a detailed report on this program. assistance and its compliance with Section 907. The GAO report, released in March 2022, found that the State Department had consistently failed to inform Congress of the impact of more than $164 million in assistance to Baku on the military balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“The human consequences of the terrible Nagorno-Karabakh war underscore the deep concerns I have long had about American aid to Azerbaijan,” Senator Menendez said. “These findings are further evidence that the status quo is unacceptable, and we must exercise additional scrutiny over the US government’s continued aid to Azerbaijan. In the coming weeks, I will renew my efforts to have the Department of State reconsider any planned future assistance to Azerbaijan, comply with Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and improve its reporting to Congress in the future. .
Senator Menendez’s stellar record for supporting key community concerns began with his election as mayor of Union City in 1986 and continued during his time in the 1988 New Jersey State Legislature. in 1992, and his election in 1992 to the United States House of Representatives. Elected to the US Senate in 2006, Senator Menendez often took it upon himself to question US Ambassador candidates to Turkey and Azerbaijan regarding their positions on the Armenian Genocide and mediation efforts for a lasting peace for the Republic of Artsakh. . And, when candidates have crossed the line of Armenian Genocide denial or shown undue bias toward Azerbaijan, Senator Menendez has resisted pressure from White House and Senate leaders, placing a “ grip” on candidates, ultimately barring candidate Dick Hoagland from becoming US Ambassador to Armenia, and stopping a full-term appointment of Matt Bryza as US Ambassador to Azerbaijan.