WASHINGTON, DC – The Trump Administration announced today, to cut all aid to The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh), reported the Armenian Council of America (ACA).
The decision by the Trump Administration to cut aid to Artsakh weighs heavily on the misconception that all demining efforts have been completed in Artsakh, a presumption unsupported by HALO officials and the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, including Congresmembers Judy Chu and Jackie Speier, both of which visited Artsakh recently and advocated for an increase in funding for much needed demining in the region. USAID officials are citing that the funding allocated for Artsakh should be utilized for issues that are of a “higher priority.”
The Foreign Ministry of The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic issued the following statement:
A hundred years ago, on March 23, 1920, the authorities of the newly created Azerbaijani Democratic Republic massacred the Armenian population of Shushi, the then administrative and cultural center of Artsakh.
The Shushi massacre became the apotheosis of the two-year-long attempts of the Azerbaijani authorities to seize and subjugate Artsakh. These irrepressible and unreasonable territorial claims to Artsakh by Azerbaijan, which was created as a result of the Turkish invasion in the South Caucasus, laid the foundation for the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict in its modern sense.
The Armenian pogroms of the 1988-1990s were the continuation of the Shushi massacre of 1920 and clearly demonstrated that even after 70 years neither the goals nor the methods of the Azerbaijani authorities had changed.
Only thanks to the self-organization of the people of Artsakh, which created a capable state with all the necessary institutions, including an efficient army, as well as the support of the Armenians worldwide, it was possible to repel the armed aggression of Azerbaijan in 1991-1994 and to prevent the repeating of the Shushi scenario in Artsakh, but on a larger scale.
Today, the authorities and people of Artsakh are exerting every effort to revive Shushi and to restore, the cultural heritage of the city destroyed by the Azerbaijani authorities.
“We are very disappointed to hear that the Trump Administration has taken this drastic step to cut aid to Artsakh,” said Sevak Khatchadorian, ACA Chairman. “The people of Artsakh have fought for decades to maintain stability and peace throughout the region and have proven that they support and uphold the virtues of democracy, unlike the neighboring regime of Azerbaijan, which is an autocratic dictatorship and ironically, has received an increase in aid from the US,” added Khatchadorian.
“I’ve seen the life saving work that HALO does up close, and I know just how important it is,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu. “Thanks to HALO, over 3500 landmines, 3100 cluster munitions, and 7600 items of unexploded or abandoned ordnance have been destroyed. But with at least 1.7 million square meters of contaminated areas still remaining, there is no justification for USAID to end this funding. Landmines exist to prevent peace, and to make it impossible for the populations to settle, use land, and reduce tensions. That is why the US has proudly been the world’s single largest supporter of humanitarian demining. This is a commitment we must not back away from, especially since we know there is work left undone. That is why, as we are preparing the 2021 budget, I requested $1.5 million for demining in Artsakh, and I will continue to fight for this important program,” added Congresswoman Chu.